belgian surfers experience top season!

With everyone looking forward to the start of some more stable summer weather, surfers and by extension windsurfers, wingfoilers and kiteboarders are already looking back on a very successful season.

For them, at least, the summer cannot go wrong as they were able to go out to sea on a very regular basis to do their favourite thing. It was remarkably more windy than in previous years, which consequently caused more waves.

Frank Vanleenhove of Surfers Paradise: " we are indeed experiencing an exceptional watersports year. Maybe not fun for everyone and it is always better when the sun shines, but in terms of hours spent at sea, records are being broken.

It already started during April and May, where it was exceptionally cold, but we counted 30 days of wind from a northerly direction with a strength of more than 4 beaufort.

June brought warmer weather with still 12 days when action on the water was possible, which is almost 1 in 2 anyway, we imagined ourselves in Tarifa in Spain on the Strait of Gibraltar nicknamed the "wind capital of the world".

Finally, July broke all records: water sports enthusiasts were able to go out to sea for a whopping 21 days, an absolute record for a usually calmer summer month.

And August is not even halfway through yet but storm Antoni on 6 August brought to my knowledge the biggest waves ever to our coast, our meteo station at Surfers Paradise gave peaks of 47 knots, which is 90 km per hour, while the waves at high tide reached a height of up to 3 metres ! Fortunately, the wind was slightly from the west otherwise the beach would have been a lot shorter by now.

Immediately afterwards, we received waves from the storm over Norway all along our coast, swell that crossed the entire North Sea to create unprecedented un-Belgian surf scenes here with us, even with no wind to speak of!"

Euphoric youngsters at surf camp: get wet anyway!

"Obviously, these waves had an extremely positive impact on the youngsters who came to surf camp every week. We are already happy if they can surf well once a day, now they could be on the water every day from morning to evening, we even had to ask the parents to put their kids to bed early so that they would be fit to brave the waves the following day. When the weather is not too good I then sometimes worry that those kids are not having fun times, but the truth is different because where is the best place to be when the weather is autumnal ? In the water anyway while you are doing sports ? You will get wet anyway ! And with a sea water temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius, too cold for the time of year, it was sometimes warmer at sea than ashore ! A lot of young people have caught the surfing bug and come back every day to improve their skills. And when the parents plan a trip later, the children only want to go to a real surf destination and then, of course, the parents come to us for advice."

Better weather on the coast

"What we did notice, and as water sportspeople you can notice this perfectly when you are at sea, because then you have a view of what is happening in the hinterland. It was striking that most of the time we were on the water in the sun with blue skies, while inland we saw dark clouds where rain sometimes poured down while we were completely dry on the beach.

Then we felt sorry for the people who sat inside far from the sea, assuming that the weather was bad everywhere and not knowing that all kinds of activities are possible at our place, which would put them back in a more optimistic mood in no time, because nothing makes you happier than feeling the freedom when you are doing water sports at sea.

Hopefully soon, indeed, better weather so that everyone is happy and so that the surfers can regain some strength.

Kiteboard photos during storm Antoni, surf photos are unique to the Belgian coast: windless and nicely sloping, so perfectly surfable!