An Aussie Abroad Scoring in... Denmark!

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 12d ago

Words by Tom Pearsall, as told to MSW editor Jason Lock.

I never thought I'd visit Copenhagen, much less live here. But as the random threads of life stitch your story I've been fortunate enough to marry a Dane, Amalie, and after spending most of the past three years in my West Australia home, it was time to live in hers.

Really didn't know what to expect but I've enjoyed it thoroughly, getting to know the culture and spending time with her family. What it lacks in waves it makes up for in lifestyle and dangerously good beer. I've actually taken up waterpolo with a team way out of my league. They put up with me for now, and it's certainly keeping me fit.

For many locales arcoss the planet, this would be a no go. But for Denmark (home of Cold Hawaii!) it is a glowing green light.

For many locales arcoss the planet, this would be a no go. But for Denmark (home of Cold Hawaii!) it is a glowing green light.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

"That's Ada with the surf check! She's actually been all the way to Unstad with us and can skate..." says photog Tom Pearsall on the family pooch.

© 2022 - Amalie Hemmingsen

Another Aussie living in Copenhagen, Sam (owner of Swimears), actually gave me the heads up about a swell coming up last week. I had a look at MSW app and saw 50kts onshore wind and thought "ummmm?".

Turns out it was one of those charts the Danes live for, which are usually severely windy ones. With such a short fetch to most of the coast, it needs to be howling onshore for a couple of days to brew up some surfable waves. I'm still a rookie when it comes to knowing what to looks for though.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

Gotta go weeeee!

Gotta go weeeee!

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

I guess we are really looking for the opposite conditions of what we get at home in Australia. You are looking for the peak of the front, it seems. Rather than the groomed swell following it. It's all wind swell – this swell had a five second period – which is unheard of at home, so you have to be there in the wind or you don't surf.

But Ama and I were keen for an adventure after working on our summer house for a few months and off we went. I didn't actually expect to get the board off our little jellybean of a Peugeot, but Sam knew what he was talking about.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

Blowing a hoolie? This is what the Danes live for! And top? This is what stokes the fire in a nation ruled by wind swell.

Blowing a hoolie? This is what the Danes live for! And top? This is what stokes the fire in a nation ruled by wind swell.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

I had the name of a town in mind so we just went straight there and followed our nose. There's a lot of very similar coastal fishing towns around. And as for boards, I had picked up a freshly shaped prototype 7'5” rounded pin twin from Ryan Von Dresslet en route to the airport, four months prior and it was in its bubble wrap, burning a hole in the boardbag. We had the long walls of Morocco in mind for this thing, but it was a wonderful feeling to wax up a magic sled I'd dreamed of surfing for so long. 

What a lovely entry way.

What a lovely entry way.

© 2022 - Amalie Hemmingsen

The wind was screaming through the rigging of the boats in the neighbouring harbour, whipping the tops off the exposed chops into the sky. It would've been verging on gale force and it was actually pretty full on for the senses. I can't imagine what it's going to be like in winter. Thankfully, the breakwall sheltered the surf just enough to make it rideable. The water was about the same temperature as home, though far browner, and that's just after summer. I still wore a 4/3, and was happy. Soft Aussie I guess [laughs].

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

Compared to home, there was definitely a bit more of a novelty feel about it. Everyone seemed really pumped, I guess because it's quite a treat, being so rare. It looked like people had travelled from far and wide to get there for the swell. We definitely get a bit spoiled in Aus.

I think if it was consistent you'd have a way harder time pulling on a thick piece of rubber, gloves, boots and everything else, to surf what is essentially wind chops most of the time. But what do I know, I'm just a blow-in, the Danes seem like a committed bunch.

Quintessentially Scandinavian.

Quintessentially Scandinavian.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall/Amalie Hemmingsen

The excitement and enjoyment was palpable. They seemed to be enjoying a shared experience and that made it so much more fun. The surf culture and camaraderie seemed really positive and inclusive. Which is not always the case in many parts of the world. That's what it's all about at the end of the day. Getting out into nature and having fun. 

The good thing about a gale like this; air wind.

The good thing about a gale like this; air wind.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall

We like to think here that Tarzan is one of the local heavies. You'd never be able to tell though.

We like to think here that Tarzan is one of the local heavies. You'd never be able to tell though.

© 2022 - Tom Pearsall