When you think of surf you don’t think of countries like Slovenia. It has only 47km of coastline in the far corner of the Adriatic Sea, between Italy and Croatia. A narrow sea like the Adriatic it’s not the most likely generator of waves. And as far as the Adriatic goes the far corner might even be the most protected part of that sea. But all the same these guys have been dedicated enough to turn their interest into a passion, and for some a lifestyle.
I first met these guys in 2002 in a campsite in Anglet in southern France. They set up camp in the campsite for over a month of the European summer. Some stay the whole time, like the organisers and instructors, others who learn to surf stay for just 2 weeks and try their best at learning to stand up on their boards during that time, and then return to Slovenia with a cool story to tell.
Every summer you see a few friendly faces return, as they try to get as many waves in as possible during their stay. Given that summer usually brings long flats spells to most surf coasts, small waves are perfect for beginners, and less dangerous for them. You see them walk down the beach at 7am and come back and tell you the waves are 3ft high, and come and join them for a surf. If it’s 3 foot I’ll be there with bells on. You’re probably not expecting big waves that day knowing the forecast already, so you rush down the beach hoping that their forecast were true, and on arrival you’re disappointed at another flat day of surf ahead of you. When you see them next you ask them with what measuring gauge did they arrive at 3ft waves.
For a Slovenian, spending a few months in western Europe is not a cheap proposition, especially an expensive country like France. They bring as much cheap food from their country as they can, and when that has run out a trip or 2 to Spain, for a big grocery shop to save money.
Other things that Slovenians can’t afford are the prices of surfboards already made or for that matter the surfboard blanks. So how do the make their boards. Their buy a cheap form foam, the same as that used for surfboards, glue in their own stringers (a wooden central support found in surfboards), and then shape and fibreglass their own surfboards. And the result? Well I’ve surfed a few of them and the surf reasonably well. Not bad for people that you wouldn’t expect to surf.
At night the Slovenians mostly stick to their camp and have a few relaxing drinks and on the odd celebration bring out their Slovenian Slivovica and brandy they claim to be distilled from pear (not plum like most Slivovica).
Some of the main guys from the club travel the world in such of better waves and bring back stories of great surfing adventures and amazing places to visit. According to the main site which is written in Slovenian, the current campsite for these surfing adventurers is Zarautz, Spain, which is a great place to surf and save money compared to the costs of staying on the other side of the border in France.
If you’re from somewhere in the Balkan part of the world, speak something understandable to a Slovenian and would like to share the surfing adventures experienced by Ujusansa Surf Club, get on the site and book for their next summer surf camp and have some fun in Spain.
Coming soon- Croatian Slang. Maybe you can learn some words that Slovenians will understand.