Trace your fingers across the north western European coastline. A chunk of that 700-or-so mile stretch is the Netherlands, which can be exposed to a fickle bludgeoning of the southern-most North Sea. On its day, it is Holland can make full use of the same swell that reels down the east coast of the UK.
Going on a wave hunt in Holland is almost an art-form, it is not world-class beachies, or heavy shifting, thick-lipped juggernauts. It's windy, it's cold, isolated. But every now and then, there's flashes of brilliance that'll make just about anyone sit up right. And if you're really lucky, a rare sessions that'll “change the perspective of what Dutch surf can be like,” as lensman Michal Pelka explains to MSW.
“Surfing in the Netherlands isn’t exactly associated with board shorts and all day offshores,” Pelka continues, the man behind the lens of what you see throughout. “Nope, the North Sea serves us downright frustratingly cold onshore sloppy waves, and we love it that way.
“But on this day, it saw a unique combination of an all day offshore with a northwestern directed swell window. Arguably the best day of the year considering just about every inch of the Dutch coastline got their fill.”
And it is the reason that when the swell arrives, a tight-knit local crew will seek harbour jettys, part evidenced throughout this feature, which offers some form of divine protection from a blustery day.
One such filling their boots as this session rolled out is Kaspar Hamminga, two time Dutch national champion. “We knew it was gonna get really good because of storm the day before and the wind turning into the right direction, but the tide was a bit off point,” he says.
“In the morning it was low tide and we had to wait for the tide to kick in for the waves to get some power. the tide is a factor thats very important here, because the north sea is so shallow it decreases the power. After some waiting it came together and we jumped in.”
When asking about the surf scene in Holland right now, Kaspar says: “There is a big group of surfers in the Netherlands, most of them are freesurfers that just hop in when the waves are fun and than you have a group of surfers training for the comps surfing every ripple there is. But the scene is really cosy and close, everybody knows everybody.”