Few people associate surfing with the Netherlands. While the Netherlands has quite a few surf and kite hotspots. Whether you want to golf surf, windsurf, kitesurf or even foil surf, along the Dutch coasts and around the five Wadden Islands there are many popular surf spots.
The Netherlands, as a surfing country, is well on the map in Europe. According to the real surfers, you can find better waves than anywhere else along the French coast under the right conditions, in Scheveningen, for example.
The history of surfing in the Netherlands
Dutch surfing history started in the thirties in Noordwijk. It was there that one Jan Coenraads ventured into the sea with a plank for the first time.
As a member of the Noordwijkse Zeilvereniging (Local sailingclub), he surfed one of the first surfboards in the Netherlands on days without wind, but with waves. At that time there was not even wind surfing and it is still a mystery how he got that surfboard.
It took until the 1960s before surfing really started to develop in the Netherlands. You may not be able to imagine it now, but surfing was quite exotic back then. It was therefore described as dangerous.
The police in The Hague and Scheveningen had little to do with the breakneck speeds in the water and forbade surfing during the day. If you did, you would be fined.
In order to be allowed to surf in the 1960s, a permit was required from the municipality of The Hague. The real diehards soon founded the Holland Surf Association. Every year it was quite a fuss to get the permit renewed. But at last it was possible to surf legally!
Dutch surf pro’s
Since the 1990s, pros have also been active in the Netherlands. In other words, surfers who can earn their money with this sport. Dutch Championships are being organised and surf schools are shooting up all along the coast like mushrooms. Surfing in all its different forms has become a real hype.
Once surfing the waves was a fact, it wasn’t long before other branches of this sport such as windsurfing and later kitesurfing became popular.
Today in the Netherlands almost everywhere where there is water there is a possibility of surfing. In whatever form and with how much or little experience, surfing is a sport for young and old alike.
Windsurfing or Plank Sailing
Windsurfing was put on the map by two Americans at the end of the 1960s. Their intention was to knot a sail on a surfboard so that the sail would catch wind and they would move forward.
According to them, it was much simpler than sailing in boats because the plank and rigging were much easier to transport.
Soon this ‘board sailing’ developed into a real sport and became extremely popular in America in the 70s. Ten years later this sport spread like crazy all over the world and became one of the most popular water sports of its time.
Kitesurfing was created by daredevils
Kitesurfing is the younger brother of the aforementioned forms of surfing. Although the first principles of ‘kiting’ also date back to the early 1970s.
It was invented by a few daredevils from the first hour. They were pulled with a parachute attached to a board or boat or even on skis.
It was a Dutchman who applied for a patent in 1977 for a parachute with a surfboard.
What follows are breakneck tours that are broadcast on TV and from which a kind of competition form eventually emerges.
It was not until 1993 that the first kiteboarding and kites were for sale to the wider public.
Meanwhile, on a windy day, it is impossible to imagine kitesurfing along the Dutch coast without them. Certainly not along the afsluitdijk or in front of the beach of Terschelling.
The latest trend in surfing: Foil surfing
Of course, the development of surfing is not standing still and a new form of surfing has even been added, namely foil surfing. This was developed by“Waterman” Laird Hamilton.
What is Foil surfen
Foil surfing is a hybrid form of classic surfing combined with hydrofoil technology. With foil surfing there is no traditional fin under the surfboard but a hydrodynamically designed fin. It is longer than the fin of a classic surfboard and has wings on the underside.
When the board moves forward, the wings lift it out of the water, making a large part of the fin visible. Foil surfers literally fly above the water surface.
The big advantage of foil surfing is that foil boards are better able to get energy out of the water than regular surfboards. In doing so, they do not lose that energy to the friction that occurs when a board comes into contact with the water.
“It’s like an underwater plane giving you a lift.”
Dorian van Rijsselberghe National Surfing Champion
What is a foil surfboard
A foil surfboard is a surfboard with a hydrofoil (support wing), which is located underneath the board in the water. This design allows the board to float above the water surface and allows you to surf at different speeds.
Where to surf Foil in the Netherlands
There are a number of Foil surf schools in the Netherlands, including in Almere. Furthermore, Foil surfing is often subject to the same conditions as other forms of surfing. What is important, however, is that the water is deep enough so as not to damage your wing. Never want to surf all the way to the beach bar!
Why is it possible to surf so well in the Netherlands?
Surfing is possible everywhere along the coast in the Netherlands. This is why people speak of Dutch surfing. The sea climate and the often constant wind ensure that it’s nice surfing in our little country.
Especially in winter, the waves are often good. You do need a bit of patience, but then you have something! It is waiting for a south-west wind. Or on a storm somewhere near Scotland and Norway, so that wave production will start there.
If then a North or North-West wind brings those waves our way, it is unprecedentedly nice surfing on real Dutch waves.
The best spots for golf surfing in the Netherlands
Well, we have quite a long coastline in the Netherlands and of course we add the beaches around the Wadden Islands. Before you run haphazardly towards the dunes with a board under your arm, we list the best hotspots for you below:
1. Surf city Scheveningen
The breeding ground of surfing in the Netherlands is the beach of Scheveningen. Christened Surf City by many surfers. There are several surf shops and schools, a surf village and even an artificial reef. This ensures that there are the best waves here every moment of the day and all year round.
The most famous spot inScheveningen is at the pier. Because of the sandbanks that lie here, waves develop well and that is what you want! A small disadvantage is that it can also be pleasantly crowded. With good surfing weather you are certainly not alone in the water.
2. Wijkiki Wijk aan Zee
Wijk aan zee has not been renamed ‘Wijkiki’ by the local surf heroes for nothing.
It has a harbourhead so that you, as a surfer, are just a little bit sheltered from the South-West wind. Here, too, it is the well-positioned sandbanks that provide an excellent surfing climate. The beach bars with names like ‘Aloha’ complete a day of surfing here.
3. Surfing on Texel
For the ultimate holiday feeling and riding good waves you go to Texel. You can choose to do this on one of the traditional sailing ships, to get in the mood. But from ‘the randstad’ you can also get there in no time by ferry Teso which usually goes every half hour.
The best conditions on Texel are when waves come from the Northwest and the wind is absent or offshore. But even if there is a strong wind blowing from the southwest, wave production gets off to a good start on this Wadden Island.
It is often much less crowded than at some hotspots along the coastline and therefore, for example, popular as aspecial yoga place. A nice side effect is that here and thereseals surf with you on a regular basis.
On the islands they indicate places by means of poles with numbers. At paal 17 you really get the surf vibe, here you can easily grab waves. Between pole 17 and pole 15 you can book surfing lessons but also rent boards and wetsuits.
Of course you will also find nice beach bars here. This is not the only spot, also pole 9 is one with good waves. Take your board under your arm and explore the nicest beaches on the Dutch Wadden Islands!
The best spots for Windsurfing in the Netherlands
Windsurfing is best done in Scheveningen and Wijk aan zee. However, a spot can be added, especially for the windsurfer.
4. The surfspot Makkum
The big difference with the other surf spots is that you surf onthe IJsselmeer at Makkum. In the summer months you also have the wind and waves for yourself because kite surfing is not allowed here. From the beach in Makkum you can walk straight into the IJsselmeer for a top windsurfing experience.
The best spots for kitesurfing
The spots mentioned above are great for kiting but kitesurfing is not only possible on the Wadden Sea, the IJssel- and Markermeer but also on the North Sea.
5. Kite surfen on Terschelling
On Terschelling there is the unique situation that you can kite surf on the south side of the island on the Wadden Sea. If you go to the North side, you surf the North Sea. With a bit of luck you’ll find just a bit heavier wind and waves there.
The kitesurf spots on Terschelling are well organised. For example, on the spot there are signs with instructions especially for kiters. It says where and when you can surf.
At West-Terschelling you surf on the Wadden side of the island. If you drive on to the village of Hoorn, you will be on the North Sea side. These are real hotspots for the daredevil kitesurfer.
If you want to know everything about surfing, kiting and more, check out the site Boardshortz.
Combining surfing and sailing
Combine your surfing experience with another branch of water sports and let yourself be taken to the best spots on the IJsselmeer or the Wadden Sea by one of the traditional sailing ships that the Netherlands still has.
Experience what it is like to land on the most popular or undiscovered surf spots with hundreds of square meters of sail and give your surfing experience an extra dimension. Fun with friends, family or as a leisurelycompany outing.
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