Sea Kayaking & Touring

Storm Surge Surfing - Video

by eike-kohler
Friday, February 22, 2019
   Sea Kayaking & Touring
Friday, February 22, 2019
We very seldom have good surf in the area where I live, next to the Baltic Sea. And when we do get surf, there is a strong wind as well. So when the weather forecast looks promising for surf, the pressure to kayak is high, as we don’t want to miss this rare opportunity!
Eike Köhler
by Eike Köhler

"Getting through challenging sections is sometimes like playing chess with the ocean and surfing cleans my soul"

We very seldom have good surf in the area where I live, next to the Baltic Sea. And when we do get surf, it is accompanied by a strong wind as well. So when the weather forecast looks promising for surf, the pressure to kayak is high, as we don’t want to miss this rare opportunity!

My last surf was 9 months before this storm. Johann and I were looking forward to the next opportunity to get out and surf again. The forecast varied between 1.9–2.5m (6–8’) waves and gusts of 30 knots from the northern direction.

During the drive to the surf spot, we heard on the radio about a storm surge warning. This was the second storm surge within 2 weeks. There was a blackout in a large town that outmatched the dramatic storm surge. In the end we had a thrilling drive to the spot, with gusts shaking the car.

A forecast is only a forecast and not a measurement. You only know if the drive was worth it when you arrive at the spot. It’s always sobering if you load up the kayak on the roof and drive for 1 hour just to realize that it wasn’t worth it because the swell is to low.

But that was not the case today. I‘d never seen this spot so wild. On top of that the beach was gone; all covered by water because of the storm surge. I checked the location and had a quick but calm look at the sea. I noticed a small rip current and decided to get ready.

Before launching I had some doubts, but the forecasted 2m waves weren’t new for me at this spot and so I decided to give it a go.

While paddling against the waves, I could really feel the power and height of the waves. After coming through the breaking waves I decided to wait for a small set of waves to come back in and check how this worked out.

After 3 minutes I was still waiting for a small set but couldn’t find one. The waves didn’t want to keep me waiting any longer. How I made my way back upside-down through the surf can be seen in the video below. I can say that it wasn’t a good feeling to be accelerated by the wave while being capsized head first in the water.

Reaching the shore without damage was a very good feeling though. Afterwards I filmed the storm surge and realized what was really going on at this day. The northerly winds were just perfect so the waves could elevate from the longest distance possible. We decided to stop on the way home at another spot where Fetch was shorter. (green dot on the map above)

The beach was also underwater at this spot today, but the conditions were much calmer in comparison to the other spot (red dot on the map). Both of us could catch a good surf and Johann performed his first pop out.

The surf on this day taught me to focus more on my gut feeling and knowledge than blindly trusting any weather forecast. The danger to hit a rock with your head is probably pretty low, but in these conditions you can’t be sure if a beach that was normally clear of rocks had been changed by the storm.


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