It was cold, rainy and windy. Just the perfect day for some road tripping and sea hopping for us. Janne Niini had asked us to come and of course we come when asked :). A fun day.
Here is Janne's story about our day:
Grey skies, +3C air and water temp and howling onshore wind. Great weather for a little SUP paddling?
Most people probably don’t consider that kind of conditions perfect for some standup paddling action. However, in Finland if you want to surf waves, winter is the the right the time, meaning strong low pressures that send some Baltic Sea windswell to our coast lines. Also, for most people our little, “mushy” waves are pretty pathetic in general. But that’s all what we got and if you want to surf at all that means getting at least somehow comfortable with ice cold weather/water, and getting yourself proper winter surf gear.
Actually there is a small but quite “hardcore” surfing community in Finland. SUP surfing instead is still pretty rare, SUP is mostly considered the perfect way to paddle around on flat waters - which we have plenty. Finland is even named the “land of the thousand lakes”.
The challenge with SUP surfing in Finland is that it won’t work very well with the typical very strong onshore wind. So, the timing and location is super crucial: you have to either wait for the strong onshore wind to ease up a little and/or try to find sheltered locations where you can get often very small but still just surfable waves for the big SUP board.
On March 30th when we went to Hanko there was a strong onshore wind but it was still somehow manageable - super hard workout but still possible. The waves were quite small, fun sized, perfect for SUP. The waves here break quite near the shore. So, the rides are not that long but as said it is still surfing, in Finland.
Johanna also proved that a dry suit works with a standup board, where you’re not lying down on your belly and paddling with your hands. I guess especially for winter flat water paddling dry suits will work perfectly. I also got to say that Johanna chose some hardcore conditions for her first(!) SUP experience. Any normal little breeze or wind wave on summer conditions will be a piece of cake after this! She even managed to catch a few waves, which was the goal of the day. The lunch and warm coffee in Origo Café (in Hanko town center) were definitely well deserved after a few hours in the ice cold water.
Now that we have tried SUP surfing Finland a bit more the next challenge is to find new, more sheltered spots. Spots that won’t necessarily work on your typical prone shortboard but might offer perfect little waves to have fun on more floatier SUP board. Open beaches like Hanko work well for a few times a year but I am sure there are more sheltered spots that will work even with the strongest autumn/winter storms. Next step is to do some more exploring!
Thank you Janne for writing about our day :). Here is Johanna and I after being in the water for quite a while. One of my feet was a little bit wet but who cares :). A little rest, pack the camera, pack the stuff and then off to some warm soup and coffee.
Check out Janne's coldwater SUP here: