In terms of a premier surf destination, an icy land notorious for Viking history is not exactly what comes to mind. Yet, Norway remains quite the magical destination for a surfer’s mecca. It has what every surfer is jonesing for-- a massive, secluded coastline.
Initially, the word Norway stimulates a fixed reaction of brr… “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and cartoon images from the Disney film Frozen are likely to flash to the forefront of one’s mind. Suspicion arises as to whether there is any water there that has not already turned to ice. In the winter months at Camp Stadt the waves are bigger (21 feet), but the roads can be treacherous and the water temperatures unsympathetically cold.
By juxtaposition the summer months seek to dispel that facade, reaching more reasonable temperatures, and facilitating some “good times,” according to Peter Hansen, spokesman for Lapoint Surf Camp Stadt. Camp Stadt is open March 14th to November 15th in a wild, sequestered village known as Hoddevik. The village holds nearly 20 homes, with the nearest store being a 20 minute drive. Lapoint Surf Camp Stadt is the largest of three surf camps in Hoddevik. The camp is minutes from Hoddevika, a bay in the most western region of Norway surrounded by steep, 500-meter-high mountains. The encased mountains welcome surfers. In between the expansive view, elongated, exotic beaches play home to some decent waves. Peter Hansen conceives: "The days we get a lot of snow are always special. Then you can spend the morning riding powder on the mountains surrounding Hoddevik, and then after lunch go for a surf just a few hundred meters from where you were skiing. That does not happen many places in the world.” Lapoint’s main lodging has twenty individual beds in eight rooms. The Utsikten house has ten beds in three rooms and is directly translated as “the view” for good reason. A view of waves between three and ten feet can be anticipated.
Many North and South American surfers rave about night surfing underneath the Blood Moon (full lunar eclipse). One of the best kept secrets about surfing Norway is that it does not get dark there in the summertime. Therefore, a visitor can continuously night surf in the daylight! Calle Magnussen, Camp Manager and author of Adrenalin expounded:
One thing that is amazing is when a good swell hits during summertime. It never gets dark here during the summer. So, in July, you can surf a perfect midnight session with a purple and pink sky in the background.”
Visitors should prepare accordingly for the 15 degrees Celsius water temperature and 15-20 degrees Celsius air temperature. Magnusson recommends a 5/3 mm wetsuit. Those used to warmer air and water temperatures might consider a full hood, gloves, booties, and preparations. The uncomfortable temperatures are not such a bad compromise when coupled with the rocky pointbreak, Ervik. Ervik offers the same swell as Hoddevik but is always slightly bigger. Lofoten Islands and Stavanger are other renowned surf spots across Norway’s vast coastline. Calle surfs a longboard (9’1”) or a larger shortboard (6’6”), as the waves are not as steep as a reef break. Use this knowledge as a standard of measure to determine which boards to pack.
The camp offers a variety of packages and accommodation options, even including board rentals. Level one is designed for people who have never surfed before. Level two is designed for those who have stood up before but need to learn more. Both levels include wetsuit and board rentals, dinner, outings, instruction, and kitchen access. The cost starts at 1680 euros per weekend and acrues for an extended stay. Those who simply need lodging can receive basic accomadations and kitchen access for 35 euros per night. Transportation costs are about ten euros one way, typically taking one hour. Lapoint Surf Camp Stadt embodies adventure, boasting a youthful, English-speaking staff, a mini-ramp two meters from camp, a skatepark in Ervik, paddleboarding for flat days, soaring cliffs, fishing, and lush mountains. Warmth comes in the form of good surf, the secluded beauty of the country, the hot tub or sauna, and the hospitable staff. Norwegians have the perfect word for Camp Stadt, koselig (cozy).
Special acknowledgement to: Kim Hette, Calle Magnussen, Peter Hansen, and Sebastian Kjellström