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THE HOWLING GALE
WE ARE BACKWASH
The North Sea is a place close to our hearts, particularly for two fifths of the Backwash Helm. Normally we've viewed this brown expanse of volatile water from the right coast of the UK but when Tim Padmos and Yannick de Jager's visions came in from across the ditch they struck a vaguely familiar chord. Combined with the curious backstory around the destination and novelty factor of the wave we reached out to Tim and Yannick to shed some more light on the project:
’HOLLANDSCH' is about those moments that we get to enjoy in our fickle, shitty, but sometimes beautiful North Sea. Yannick and I had the idea to document those sessions in a way that really portraits the North Sea for us. Those typical Dutch sessions, whether shitty or occasionally beautiful, always brings a little magic in our day to day Dutch lives.
The spot where it’s filmed at is the Maasvlakte, a huge industrial area below Rotterdam. A couple years back a massive sand suppletion project took place to ‘create’ more land (~100 acres) for the industry of the harbour of Rotterdam (called Maasvlakte II).
The spot is super fickle and only works with a certain swell and wind direction. The “Siberian Bear” depression a couple of weeks back brought us cold weather but also a solid NE swell, which is perfect for this spot.
I filmed there for two days with Yannick de Jager and Oli Adams. I’m saving the good clips for a Dutch surf project I’m working on at the moment, but I couldn’t resist making this weird
We want to try and capture the vibe of surfing in Holland in a different way, portray how different it is surfing in the North Sea and on the dutch coast. To find good waves in Holland takes a lot, but that also makes it special. You don't take it for granted, you really appreciate it.. but really. Like in a different dimension then when you are in a country with consistent quality waves. It's borderline bizarre. There is so much anticipation and looking forward to those sweet sessions somewhere on the dutch coast.. whether it's just really fun, rippable, onshore slob on a good sandbank or those very few clean days with groundswell from the north (as far as you can call it ground swell). The tide in the North Sea is massive and the sea in front of the Dutch coast is so shallow - it influences the waves a lot too, which means that a lot of days timing is everything out here.
Don't get me wrong. Scoring waves in a place that is blessed with decent or consistent surf never gets boring. It's what surfing is about. Whether that is on a epic French sandbank, barreling Portuguese reef, Irish slab, American A-frame skatepark, Australian point or some perfect tropical coral. Yet I think scoring quality waves at a place that doesn't receive swell so often is a different experience.
Different in a way that maybe the energy of the place changes, because its not used to the energy of clean breaking waves. Maybe it is because not a whole lot of people have ridden waves at that location before and it's usually uncrowded, more pure. Maybe because there are plenty of discoveries to be made. Maybe its because those few times a year, exceptional sessions almost feel like a miracle when they happen. Which they are in a way. Its almost like all those conditions coming together that produce high quality waves should not be possible at that place or spot. Or maybe you just have to come from such a wave poor country to recognize and appreciate that long term, special anticipation. To fully feel the reward. Surfing waves at spots that are unique experiences in their own right. Its probably got to do with where we are from and how we've been conditioned, but I can say I'm a big fan of surfing these different, wave starved places on those special moments.
You can find episode 1 from the series here:
Backwash Issue Two is a surf anthology featuring Japan, the photography of Chris Burkard and Sergio Villalba, Hamish Laing and Woody Gooch. Kalani Lattanzi swims at Nazare, whilst Amy Kotch surfs barrels whilst pregnant and John Peck knee paddles out as he has done since 1958.Purchase