Klitmoller surf camp: Bags of fun to be had surfing in Hawaii... Cold Hawaii, that is
- Credit: Emma Bartholomew
“This isn’t really Hawaii,” the blurb on Mor and Vahine’s surf camp website warns potential guests.
Just like Hawaii though, Cold Hawaii - or Klitmoller - boasts a nice reef which generates a really fun wave to surf. But the sea is somewhat cooler here, just off the north west coast of Denmark.
It's an unlikely surf destination. Bacon, roll mop herrings and Vikings tend to spring to mind when you think of the nordic country, and not epic waves.
Klitmoller is faster to reach from London than Hawaii however, and faster too than the UK's own prominent surf spot Cornwall. It's just an hour-long flight to Aalborg, and an hour's drive the other end.
I left early one morning with my twin sons and best friend, and by 3pm that afternoon we joined in with our first lesson at the Cold Hawaii Surf Camp.
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It was set up by Danish surfing champs Mor Meluka and Vahine Itcher, who hail from Israel and Tahiti - although Vahine moved here aged 10.
We picked up the keys to the guesthouse from their coffee and surf wear shop next to the beach, and dropped our luggage off in our rooms at the spacious guest house, a five-minute walk up the road. Within half an hour we were back and getting kitted out with wetsuits in the store opposite.
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Lessons tend to take place on the Klitmoller reef nearby, which is a nice easy wave to catch - although instructors do warn about the sharp mussel beds which lie underneath. For absolute beginners who need a push into a wave, the teachers can stand on the rocks for encouragement. If you feel more confident you can paddle further out.
Because the way the reef is angled, the waves break on a corner and peel around towards the bay - meaning you can get a really long ride.
On windier days there are windsurfers jumping the waves in the water too and the current can be fairly strong - but will only pull you towards the bay rather than out to sea. On calmer days it's a super fun spot for beginners and improvers to enjoy.
We had a couple of perfect days with waves arriving in clean sets. One day we were treated to various extremes of weather, with torrential rain one minute - so heavy you couldn't open your eyes - before the sun came out to shine so brightly the blue, green and red surf board colours were amplified with absolute brilliance. And then a rainbow appeared. It gave a sense of the awesomeness of nature, and reminded me why I loved surfing the very first day I ever tried it out.
While it might be daunting for a beginner to contemplate learning on a reef there were a fair few who joined us over our four-day stay, and they came on leaps and bounds.
Denmark can be fairly expensive with a strong krone against the pound, and eating out can be pricey.
The surf house is right next door to a Spar, so we stocked up there and cooked in the shared kitchen.
Apparently not all Danish shops are so well-stocked, but there's an eco current in Klitmoller, so it's kitted out with the kind of vegan fare you might find in Planet Organic.
In England you might have one choice of smoked salmon, but amusingly here there are about 20 brands.
Other local delicacies include rosehip and sea buckthorn ice creams and jams - reflecting the vegetation in the bushes by the sand dunes.
Just down by the sea there's a shop that smokes fish in-house, and the smoked herrings, which are about £1.50 each, are worth a taste.
There's a very relaxed atmosphere in the house, and we made some good friends staying there. You need to bring your own bed sheets and pillow cases, and I shared a dorm room with my sons.
If you don't want to cook, you can go demi- pension and get your breakfast and dinner provided at the Mor and Vahine's Garden Café, where the Poké bowls reflect Vahine's Hawaiian roots.
As well as teaching yoga in the forest Vahine is a healing guru and sea therapist and will help anyone overcome their fear of the water.
Mor shapes his Columbus board brand from a studio behind the surf shop.
You can pretty much adapt a package to suit you and stay for as long as you please, but a four-day surf camp package from Monday to Friday including four dinners and four breakfasts at the cafe, five surf lessons and use of the surf equipment at all times, costs 3.799DKK or about £440.
More information at coldhawaiisurfcamp.com