wooHe wants surfing to be tough in cold water: the water temperature in the North Sea is just four degrees Celsius at the end of February. Nothing works without a wetsuit – and even then you can still feel cold. Finn Springbourne doesn’t care. The 26-year-old hails from Flensburg, grew up with the cold Baltic Sea at his doorstep and now lives in Denmark. Its base is in Klitmøller in the north-east of the country. The North Sea Coast Village is also known as “Cold Hawaii”. It’s not hot there, but at least the waves are a little better here.
“Actually, I am only forced to be a cold water surfer. Because that is how I grew up and have been accustomed to cold water since childhood,” explains Springborn when we meet him for a video call Ready. Surf Pro is on the road again, this time in Hoségor, in the south of France. Because there’s one thing surfers quickly learn: the perfect wave isn’t waiting for you. For a cold surfer, things are even more difficult , the weather is more volatile. On the other hand, riding on a surfboard is also more intense for many people.
“You have no hesitation in taking a dip in the cold water like someone who only grew up in the south of France. If you want to surf a lot and get good waves, you have to, even in the winter. Gotta go out,” Springborn says with a steady calmness.
Surfing in cold water: a love-hate relationship for Finn Springbourne
Sometimes he needs to warm up for two or three hours after a tough session to get back to body temperature. But he also learned to love her. “People are different, you support each other more than in areas where it’s always hotter—because everyone just goes through the same thing,” says the surf professional. It is this fascination that inspired him and his friend, filmmaker Philip Sigmund, to make a film about their personal quest for the perfect wave.
They had been toying with the idea for a while, but about three years ago, when they were sitting around a campfire in Denmark in freezing temperatures in January, they made the decision. It was a classic surf camp situation. Pack your things, go surfing, have a good time. “At the time we really wanted to shoot a short clip from this weekend. So we thought: ‘Hey, these are great recordings, it would be a shame to somehow pack them into only such a short clip!’ from their shared experiences.
You can watch the trailer for “Re/Discover” here:
For his travels, he traveled to Europe in the colder months between autumn 2019 and spring 2021. The special thing about it: Finn and Phillip have been to pretty much every one of the beaches or stretches of coast. For him it was mainly about re-living and then weighing a place where you can find heaven as a surfer. Often he has gone to a real surfer hotspot without getting a good wave already. “You can’t really plan for surfing. Of course there is a weather forecast, but it only gives a rough direction,” Springborne says.
For example, during his travels he may have actually found “super good waves” in Denmark. But whenever Philip Sigmund went there to shoot, the situation got worse. “It was fascinated,” recalls the surfer. On the other hand, in Norway, seven days out of ten he was bedridden with fever and could not do anything. “Everything we filmed in Norway, it came when I was somehow half on my feet again. I was quite tired.”
In such moments he often thinks that everything is plotted against him.
However, with a short distance, he realizes that he still had a great time back then. In addition to cold and unpredictable weather conditions, surfing in cold water is also a race against daylight. “It’s something you have to have within yourself to find good. I know a lot of surfers who wouldn’t do it – or would not accept it,” he admits.
For Springborn, though, it’s what makes the game so appealing: “It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.” If he catches a big wave in tough conditions, it’s much more satisfying if he goes surfing somewhere. Possible was hot – simply because it happens there more often.
But where are they now, the best waves? “In Scotland. In Thurso,” Springbourne replies without hesitation. The long Atlantic coast with many cliffs and cliffs creates unique conditions. On a classic beach, on the other hand, sandbars keep changing. “More everything in Scotland Stable: They have more storms and get bigger waves. If you go there in winter, you are always guaranteed good waves,” he explains. This is the reason why this area is known among surfers for its first class conditions. “Everywhere is different, you never experience the same thing, so it’s never boring,” enthuses Surfer.
Denmark for “Rose Surfing”
Springbourne, on the other hand, has a very special relationship with its German neighbor in the north, Denmark, even though there is more agreement in the waves. “For surfers who live in northern Germany, Denmark is simply where you go because you get worthy waves there,” he says.
Also, his base in Klitmoller is also a place for him where he has already experienced a lot. “I was born in Flensburg, it’s a three-hour drive,” he says. In his youth he spent every weekend there. “When I was in school, I used to wait for it all week, hoping that the weather would be good for surfing that weekend.” The surf athlete still lives there.
For a surfer who’s constantly chasing the perfect waves, isn’t there such a thing as dream travel destinations on the list? “There’s something else. Most of them are out of Europe because I’ve been on the road here,” Springborn says.
But even in Europe there are still places they have to revisit – simply because they have had the hitherto hyped surfer bad luck. For example in Mundaka in northern Spain. “Otherwise I definitely want to go to Desert Point in Indonesia. I’ve never made it because Europe has the best waves when it’s summer. One or the other might know that from different surf movies – or to Mexico in Barra de la Cruz. And at Snapper Rocks in Australia! I haven’t been to Surf Classic Hawaii, either. So the list is still long. Maybe a movie will come out of it.
“Re/Discover” has so far been shown as part of a short film tour in various German cities and smaller festivals in the autumn. Starting next year, it will also run on-demand on platforms like Vimeo.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t mind cold and therefore cold water at all – maybe it’s because:
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