Denmark is not known for its waves, but, as any Copenhagen stroll or disco evening will confirm, its women are world-class.
“Oh, yes, our beers are cold and our women are hot,” Mikkel Spellerberg said, smiling as he yanked beach tents from his van, staging a rare Danish surf contest at the decayed Klitmøller bunkers. That afternoon, over cold Økologisk Thy Pilsners at Mikkel’s rented beach house, I questioned two other surfers—Copenhagen’s Asbjørn and his friend Keld, from Fyn—about this life.
“In Denmark, we might not have the best waves or the best scenery, but we definitely have the best-looking women,” Asbjørn said. “Danish surfing—at least around the Copenhagen area—is pretty international with all the different people coming in and getting Danish girlfriends. You’re in the lineup and you have a black surfer, a Hispanic surfer, an Italian surfer…all because of our women.”
Alas, the historic and classic Viking female: blonde, textbook beauty features, independent, intelligent, stylish, sexy, worldly. Viking men were brutally ruthless, sure, but what about their mates? Cycling in Copenhagen from Point A (home) to Point B (work or school), flaxen hair flowing in the morning breeze, dressed to the nines in tasteful Scandinavian garb, these gene-blessed vixens would likely be quite detrimental to my peripatetic-but-home-loving lifestyle. None could steal me from California.
“Sometimes when you’re surfing here,” Asbjørn continues, “there can be a crowd of 20 surfers but half of them are from other parts of the world. A Danish woman will travel and meet some guy on the beach and bring him back home, so we have guys from Ecuador, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand…everywhere. We have contacts around the world, and when we go visit their homes, all of their friends become our friends.”
Another beer and Asbjørn adjourns to the sauna; Keld, Steve, and I head back to the beach for a twilight surf check, viewed from the concrete bunkers half-buried in sand. Sullen and depleted, the swell had sunk into the tide, remnants of the morning greatness gracing Mikkel’s event. Now was a gray mood with a wide horizon in drizzly soft focus—one could almost smell the Germans loitering in these bunkers during their World War II occupation.
Standing against colorful graffiti, Keld takes in the scene as darkness falls. His relaxed expression hid a mindful of intensely frozen winter days at this beach, when North Atlantic groundswells wove southeast, beneath Norway, to detonate here as desolate, magic beachbreak barrels.
“During summer, you can feel the energy we get from the all the light,” he said. “The sun goes down at 11 p.m. and is back up again at 3 a.m. But in winter, although it’s dark most of the time, you should bring your 6’4” and give it a go, because our winter surf gets incredible.”
Morning. This couch, stern and narrow, irks my spine and jacks my neck. Early-morning dreams, however lucid, belie the whipping flag and sand flurries outside. Sky is blue but the cold gale shreds the sea—gusting too hard for windsurfing and, following our weeks in Greenland, this was not a tired hallucination: unsurfable oceans, whitecaps, parkas, wool sweaters, thermal underwear, dry wetsuits.
The Løkken hotel was a vacant base for a few speculative days of Danish surfing. A thick off-season country silence pressed through the walls, heavy architecture fine-tuned for whims of North Sea chaos—treachery for commercial fishermen, inconvenience for us. So we sit, read, and view subtitled television while the weather runs past.
Steve’s hangover from last night’s run earned him ample sack time in lee of today’s drab light and windslop. Contrarily, my 6’5” Rocket Sled was unveiled and the 6/5/4mm hooded fullsuit (brought for Greenland but never used) was donned. Our Løkken beachbreak was gutless and surfing it was a stretch, yet the act unfolded, followed by a rustic toast of fiery Aalborg akvavit, never more apropos in its appearance on the coffee table. Chased with pilsner, akvavit is a “water of life” commonly enjoyed with traditional Danish fare like herring or smørrebrød (buttered bread.). I learned of its potent merits from a gruff fisherman in Greenland, once a Denmark resident, now living and working in Qaqortoq.
The 6-mil wetsuit, pliant and zipperless, boiled in September’s mild North Sea. Sweaty and stiff from a three-week absence of daily movement, I duck-dove dozens of small, frail whitewater lines before discerning a potential sandbank out the back. There in the chop I sat, bobbing like a cork, a curious spectacle for the lingering German tourists in their cars on the vast, stark beach. Steve slept on the hire-car’s hood. Clearly, this was not one for the annals of epic surfdom.
But then again, yes, it was: we’d surfed Denmark. Twice.