Imagine Messi or Ibrahimovic gracing your little league soccer training! Adrian ”Ace” Buchan, #7 in the WSL rankings, arrived to our local Pebble Beach, south of Stockholm and had a nice little summer-y sesh despite it being late September. Not a big day for surfing but a fun afternoon and definitely one for the encyclopedia of Swedish cold water stoke. 

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Tres amigos waiting at an undisclosed location in Sweden. Mange Larsson, Joao Caldas and Joel Den-Besten weren't unhappy about the rather huge swells that were rolling in. Less enthusiastic were they regarding the launch spot. Required some timing. Later they were all about 'go for the gusto or stay the f-ck home'. That strategy paid off.

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The Freddie on Torö, March 17, 2017. That would be Freddie Meadows, who has been at the very forefront of Swedish surfing for more than a decade. Freddie later described the session as 'historical', which isn't an exaggeration, as everything cooperated; elements, equipment and... the most stacked lineup Torö has ever seen.

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Henrik Andersson described himself fas being ”absent from the Swedish surf scene lately.” Then along came August where a few epic days ended the total summer flat spell of 2017. And Henrik proved that a few months of not surfing hadn't done him too much harm. Surfing a 5'2 Mandala he aggressively went for – and caught – more waves than most.

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And haulin' buckets he was. Joel Den-Besten on September 28, 2016. Not a big Torö day, but a special Torö day as Joely brought his good mate, Ace Buchan, to the shore. It's fair to say that all surfers elevated themselves a notch or two, even Joel himself, who created a demand for umbrellas with some extra aggressiveness. Picture proof above.

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This is one odd photo for Sweden. Surfing in boardshorts at Torö? With no more than 17° Celcius in the water, Emanuel ”Manne” Haglund survived a good 30 minutes in the water wearing no rubber. And both the light and the swell at Torö seemed keen to cooperate. The 1st of July 2016 will be sorted under ”Exceptionally good days”.

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If your name is Erik Holmblad, it's only logical that you are nicknamed ”Frankie”. When they will present the Biggest Smile at Torö Award, this gent will certainly make the podium. At other times you'll find him chasing Arvid's butt and displaying some of the tightest cutbacks around. And when Frankies on fire, there's no need to be alarmed. He's a fireman.

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A mere 25 minutes later after the three amigos had been contemplating, Joel almost earned himself a tube-ride. Not bad in these mushy conditions. And not bad for a guy who grew up on the Macmasters point break about an hour from Sydney. First encounter with chilly water? 2007. And the tube? Sorry, moments later the wave closed down on him.

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Arvid Lilljeforss during the finals of the Swedish Open Championships, December 8, 2007. Location: Torö Stenstrand. Water temperature: +4-5° C. The winter sun is so close over the Baltic Sea that it shines through the waves making them translucent green. Where in the surfing world will you get a similar kind of light? Can't think of anywhere else.


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No presentation of the Swedish surf scene would be complete without Sir Freddie. Not competing anymore, he keeps on doing what he does best; being Freddie Meadows, finding waves, particularly heavy slabs, where there shouldn't be any and getting shot while surfing them. Here caught on a tiny Torö-wave in mid-February 2016.

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21st of July, 2015. Typical Torö day, weather-wise. In the lineup, however, the day stood out as Rolf Den-Besten, father of Joel, paddled out and, well... charged. Most Swedish surfers will agree that Torö is a very hard wave to surf, which is just proof of Rolfy's skills. Hopefully, we'll share a few waves during the summer of 2017 as well. 

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Gotland, the limestone Hawaii of the north, often offers quite a few opportunities for wave hunters who do their homework and learn how to get the most out of weather models and wave buoy data. Yeah, opportunities... Like in this pic, where Joel Den-Besten trashes an undisclosed location somewhere not too far from the islands main town, Visby.

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Meet Joao Caldas, Brazil's first ambassador of cold water surfing. Here on an unnamed wave of the Baltic Sea, where we went here on a hit-or-miss mission and scored. An unexpectedly great day it was with the brackish liquid measuring 8-9° C. Note to self: Sort this image under semi-warm water surfing.

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On Saturday October the 5th, strong winds from SSW created a pretty decent swell that would hit the shores of Torö Stenstrand the same afternoon. My mate Mange called early (thanks!) and we took off, not knowing exactly who to find there. But we were rewarded with +40 surfers in the water, among them Timothy Latte, one of Sweden's very best.

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Q: ”Who is the King of Torö?” A: Most likely Arvid Liljeforss. Unlike others, who seem to be on a monthly commute to Bali or Costa Rica, Arvid stays true to our fave 08-shore. He learned to surf there and he still rips it around 50 times per year.

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Mandatory step after stopping the car and listening the the sound of the swell; the quick run down to the shore to determine wave height and conditions. On the February morning, Joel Den-Besten and Erik ”the Snake” Lundberg were the first surfers on site, just as the sun had managed to crawl above the trees on the island Krokskär.

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Jacob Wester. Pro skier for more than a decade. Avid surfer. Brilliant writer. Yes, writer. Such a skill is a novelty in a field where the deepest analysis you'd normally hear is ”This is my life, I'm so stoked.” Jacob has opinions and will sometimes voice them on his website. He is also the man behind one of the best webisode formats I know: Unfiltered Skiing.

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On Monday the 24th of November, the entire Baltic Sea came roaring in from the south. Waves were hitting the trippelgubbe-mark = 3 x an average man's height (not a gender thing but old-fashioned surfer's slang). Joel Den-Besten caught more waves than anybody else on that day. His presence is also needed to give you the sheer scale of it all.

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”What the f@§k happened with my wave?” The Okar – Oskar Lindholm – not satisfied with the energy drain of the Torö swell. 

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Wipe out: Phrasal Verb: 1. To destroy or be destroyed completely. 2. Slang To murder. 3. Sports To lose one's balance and fall, as when skiing or surfing. There are countless different ways for a surfer to wipe out. Most do it like a kook – a few will do it as pictured above; like a boss. Quoting Laird Hamilton: ”Wiping out is an underappreciated skill.”

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