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Our blog posts can often take a left or right turn when an interesting topic presents itself. This week I wanted to open our minds to what it means to be a surfer. We come in all shapes and sizes and our home breaks are more varietal than any of us can imagine.
I have had the pleasure of hosting a new friend, Kjeld Slingerland, through Couchsurfer.com who hails from Holland. Your first thought may be, there's surf in Holland? You bet there is, the country is 60% coastline. No, I didn't know that either! Did I mention you need a 6/4/3, hood, booties, and 4mm gloves? Ha. After a week of surfing together, I thought it'd be interesting to sit down with Kjeld and get a better grasp of what surfing is like for him.
D33: So Kjeld.. you've been hanging out with us for a solid week now.. you can definitely surf! Most people don't know there are waves where you're from. Where did you learn to surf in Holland?
Kjeld:Yes, and it was a fun and great surf week! I really like this area of California. Most of my surfing in Holland has been in Scheveningen. That's a beach town on the coast of The Hague. There is a nice surf community and the waves can be a lot of fun out there if you know how and where to find them. It is all beach breaks where you have to deal with a moving sand bank and typical wind swell. The best swell we get is in Autumn.
D33:What other waves have you surfed in Europe?
Kjeld: For the rest of Europe I used to go to the west coast of France a lot. There are some great spots around the Hossegor area and way up north at La Tourge. Those are my two favorite European spots. Besides Europe, look into the coast of Morocco. I don't want to give away too much, but I've surfed a few places there that were incredible... watch the opening scenes of Sipping Jetstreams.
D33: I know just the clip you're talking about... You've arrived in Southern California at the tail end of some pretty fun swells. There's still a little bit of pulse in the water. How do you like our waves?
Kjeld: I like the waves a lot they're very mellow at the moment. You have nice reefs and a good mix of long and short boarders. I enjoyed some nice rides and i can definitely see how it would be with bigger swell.
D33: You seem to really like our 5'8" Pivot Fish and you're surfing it really well. What do you like about the board?
Kjeld: The fish is great. I love that board! Especially when i switched to slightly bigger fins. That board paddles so easily. It was not a problem to line up next to the longboarders. When you are on the wave it surfs like a fast fish; you could easily ride it a bit more like a performance board.
D33: What other fishy boards have you ridden?
Kjeld: The last couple of years i have been riding a 6'2 x 18'1/4 x 2 1/2 performance board from Australia which was a lot of fun in bigger, hollower beach and point breaks . We do not have a lot of that in Holland.
D33: What other boards are you interested in?
Kjeld: Since my local waves are small/medium and quick, I've become more interested in shorter, wider boards. I did not want go longer which made me discover fishes. I surfed a 5'10 twin fin Retro fish from Africa for a while and I am very interested in Mini Simmons style boards. It's a fast, retro surfboard design from California. I am a lanky dutch guy and love shorter boards so this is a nice way of enjoying the best of both worlds on the smaller days. Do not forget the traveling part. A shorter board is easier. Being a dutchy makes me travel a lot to catch the better waves.
D33: Sweet! Our stubbiest board is the Bean. Even though you're 6'3 I bet you'd still fly around just fine on a 5'6". Should I get a hold of one for you?
Kjeld: (Looks at the design online).. Oh man! It's like a chubby torpedo, let's do it!
D33: Thanks for the interview dude, surf sesh when I get back from work?
Kjeld: No problem... and yes, let's!