The YoooWe Team made it down to Klitmøller at some point this winter to experience the real Nordic standup paddle surfing firsthand. And even though it wasn’t the coldest point of the season – the icy water patches and the snow-capped dunes create a magnificent backdrop for a surf movie, Viking-style.
While there we also had another mission: to get hold of a certain local – namely, Casper Steinfath – the professional standup paddle surfer, 2-time ISA SUP world champion and an all-round dedicated waterman. Watch the video below or read the full transcript. Follow Casper on his Facebook, Instagram and check the latest dates for “Standing on Water“.
Could you give us a brief introduction?
My name is Casper Steinfath, I’m 22-years old. I’m from Klitmøller, Danmark – which is also called “Cold Hawaii”. I love everything water and my passion is surfing and standup paddling.
I travel roughly 9 months out of the year competing on the SUP World tour for surfing and racing. I won 2 championships and I just love having fun out there.
How did you get into standup paddle surfing?
I began surfing at the age, I don’t know, before I could walk. My dad is from California and his passion has always been surfing. So, for me and my brother it was just natural that we started surfing as well. We started really getting into surfing around age 10. I really enjoyed shortboard surfing a lot, but then when I was around 14 started getting into standup paddling. When standup paddling came around 7 years ago,
When standup paddling came around 7 years ago, no one really did it. It was actually our uncle Tim that introduced us to it – he’s from California as well. It’s really fun here in Klitmøller, especially in summer, ’cause the waves go flat for a very long time, and to keep yourself sane and not to go crazy standup paddling was really great: you could paddle up and down the coast and do downwinds. Peter and I really got into it and had a lot fo fun. And we still do – he’s out there tight now while I’m doing this interview.
I’ve been standup paddling for seven years now: it’s my job, it’s my passion and I’m really stoked to be able to take this sport and to be able to go around the world with it, both in pursuit of competitions and world championships, but also great conditions and seeking friendships.
Who are your buddies on the tour?
I really enjoy travelling with Zane Schweitzer, his father was the inventor of the windsurfing. Zane is just an ultimate hellman. Him and Connor Baxter, as well. Kai Lenny, too.
I really enjoy hanging out the Australians, they’re super gnarly on the water like, Jamie Mitchell is a beast and we had so many great races together.
Personally, I love pushing myself to the outer limits of racing, but also, I really love getting inspired and having fun with friends.
What’s the most special session in your memory?
I believe, that every session you go on the water is special, in one way or the other. There’s never two days that the conditions are the same.
But for me, it was very special surfing in Portugal one day with my brother and my dad – surfing really good waves. I think, what really just stood out for me is that you can share this – it’s not about getting the best wave, it’s about sharing the feeling on the water that a really special thing for me.
How do you manage your boards and equipment when you travel?
When I was just surfing, it was easy for me just to travel with my small 6/7ft surfboard – that wasn’t the hard thing. For me, it really has become a challenge travelling with standup paddle boards now. Because they’re bigger, they have a higher volume, they’re sometimes heavier. And the airlines are not always particularly fond of you all the time.
When it comes to race boards, I had many incidents at the airport where I have shown up and it’s a 12ft board, roughly 3,5m, and I have been rejected: there’s no room for this board. And that’s really devastating in some ways, but it also creates a lot of problems – now I don’t have a board at my race I’m going to. So, it’s really hard. We had to ship a lot of equipment around with cargo, which is very expensive and it’s really inconvenient in a lot of ways. So, it’s really a logistical problem for the standup paddling, especially in the competitive scenes it’s a huge problem.
But even, if you’d like to go travel, go touring somewhere, to bring a 10ft board with you – it’s not that easy. You have to have a really good smile at the airport, but you’re not always lucky.
Looking at YoooWe that’s coming along, I definitely think that it could be a part of the solution for many standup paddlers, not just the competitive scene. ‘Cause, it would definitely help us if we could have the boards around the world to use. But even for the people that like to go explore, like “Let’s go to Greece and go paddling”. I don’t know how I’m going to take my 14ft board there, but maybe YoooWe can help me find someone in Greece, that not only has a board I can use but also, maybe they could help with advice or guidance for places to go. There are lots of opportunities for it – no question.
So, how many boards do you have in your quiver?
I gotta have, spread across the world, I probably have at least 8-10 SUP surfboards, I don’t know, probably a dozen race boards – it adds up over the years. But, what’s great is that it also gives an opportunity to take your friends out there. Some of my friends can borrow a board and go on a downwind with me, that’s really cool, I think. It just keeps on growing – the quiver never stops growing.
Where do you see yourself if you haven’t become a pro?
I think if I hadn’t become a professional surfer, I’d still been surfing, ’cause no way surfing wouldn’t be my passion – with the upbringing I had, I just learned to love the ocean. And also the snow, and the French Alps. So, I would be doing something similar to this, but a little bit more creative, I think.
I admire a lot of the people I know – they’re not necessarily professional surfers, but they live a life around their passion. And it’s the same thing I’m doing, i just chose a professional approach to it.
But I hope to keep surfing all my life, and when I’m done competing some day, it would be great if I could approach it some way differently. But my goal is to be out there, having fun for the rest of my life.