Standup paddling can happen anywhere there’s a body of water. That’s the beauty of the sport we love so much. But what really makes it take root in any particular spot? Is it the location? The people? The culture? The weather? We’d say it’s all of the above, plus a little something that we can’t quite put our finger on. In this weekly series originally from our 2017 Gear Guide, we explore eight SUP communities that have turned into internationally renowned strongholds for the sport, from Europe, to South America, to Australia, and many in between. We hope they inspire you to get out there and do the same.
Spotlight: Klitmøller, Denmark
Local Expert: Casper Steinfath
Cold Hawaii is the name of the region where I live in Denmark. It covers a 50-kilometer stretch of coastline and it's the name that Klitmøller and the surrounding coastal areas are known by internationally. It's really become a central hub for standup paddlers and surfers in Northern Europe, and it's also where the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships will be this year.
Cold Hawaii is located on the west coast of Denmark and it's as far away from the capital (Copenhagen) as you can get. It's comprised of small, really cozy fisherman towns. Fishing was the main source of income for people for generations. Now fishing is more of a hobby and tourism, particularly surf tourism, is really what's driving the economy. It got popular because the ocean's bottom contours and geography are really special there.
The name Cold Hawaii developed around 10 years ago. People came from all over the world to windsurf there. It was only about 15 years ago that surfing came about in the region and we started shortboarding and longboarding. Then around 10 years ago standup paddling came around, and it quickly took off because Cold Hawaii is a very diverse place that suits all types of SUP.
You have everything from point breaks to beachbreaks, lakes, downwind runs—the whole list. I started standup paddling when I was about 14 and no one else was really doing it. Now it's crazy because you go into the bay in Klitmøller and you could see 50 or 100 standup paddlers playing around in the waves out there. It's a hotspot now.
It's also great because it suits all levels. The waves in Denmark aren't world-class very often, but it's an ideal place for the beginner to intermediate standup paddler. In my opinion, it's a perfect place for the sport.
Steinfath is known in international racing circuits as the Danish Viking. He's a two-time ISA Worlds gold medalist, excellent SUP surfer and a threat in any race he enters.
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