Surfing Finn Style
Finland may be a long way from Hawaii but the surf’s up in this Nordic country. And it is a little bit Kaurismaki. Just like the acclaimed filmmaking brothers Aki and Mika, Finnish surfing is wild and eccentric.
You might, for instance, spot a Finn riding the wake of an Estonian-bound ferry. Or surfing through a tempest. But Finnish surfing isn’t just a crazy sport. There are serious aficionados here. It is, however, for the intrepid. This is cold water surfing and there are no bikinis. Only wetsuits.
The story of surfing in Finland
Finland’s obsession with surfing began in the 80s. Back then it was windsurfing. Inspired by legends like Robby Naish in Hawaii and Jurgen Hönscheid on the North Sea in Germany, a group of local kids in the country’s south started to dream of jumping the waves.
And when Robby Naish came to Hanko for the 1982 world windsurfing championships and ran into the water with his board, flying straight over a giant buoy, there was no turning back.
The locals began doing tricks that were unheard of in Finland. And started making their own boards. The love affair was sealed.
Hanko as a surfing destination
At a latitude of 59 degrees north, Hanko is surrounded on three sides by open water and lots of good beaches. The wind blows often here. For these reasons, it became an early surfing mecca.
On a good south-easterly day there might be twenty or thirty surf wagons at Tullstrand Beach. Out there in the Finnish waves, the boys and girls getting caught up in the “washing machine” were transported to Maui.