This is a Guest Post by Eva Krul from Outbound Kitetravel
In my previous guest blog post for Wake Up Stoked I pointed out 3 kitesurf spots in the Netherlands which I really like. Lately, I often choose to go to a different spot for several reasons. A combination between flat (to chop) and waves and an open local community are the foremost reasons I would really recommend to go kitesurfing in Bergen aan Zee; the North Sea gem.
In this article, you’ll find info and learn about the characteristics of Bergen aan Zee as a kitesurf spot and a cool place to wander.
General Infos for kitesurfing in Bergen aan Zee (Wind and Water Condition)
The best wind/when to go kitesurfing in Bergen aan Zee
The Netherlands are well known for their “autumn storms” so the best winds can be expected from late September to December onwards.
During summer, we have easterly winds more often. This means you can’t really kite along the Dutch coastline (unless you are willing to ride to the UK – which I wouldn’t recommend of course!). In my previous guest post you can find out more about Medemblik, which is a good spot that works from N(E) to SE direction. But back to Bergen aan Zee, or as locals refer to it: BaZ.
wind: NNW – S
Best for: Freeride, Wave & Freestyle
Water and Wind Condition: need to knows about Bergen aan Zee
Like every other spot on the Dutch Coast, winds are stable.
What I also love about kitesurfing on the North Sea at my home country is the fact that there are no real obstacles or hazards: No big rocks, scary fish or sailing boats that you can crash into. The bottom of the sea, is same as what you’ll find on the beach: light brown sand and some small shells.
Some people like to wear booties, but the spot gets deep quickly (until you reach the next sandbank – easy to recognize, see the waves break) so I’m not touching the bottom that often which makes me prefer to ride with my bare feet.
The only hazard I feel like I need to point out, are rip currents. Also pretty easy to spot once you know what to look for. In Bergen aan Zee (and on loads of other spots, like Zandvoort you can see the waves going sideways and clashing. Sometimes when the current is strong, you can also see the water whirling.
The water is choppy and you’re also very likely to find some waves rolling in.
Last but not least, I’d like to give you some advice regarding the current and direction:
When the wind direction is south orientated, and the tide is coming in (if it’s getting high tide) you’ll be needing a few knots more. If the tide is going out, this helps you to get upwind with this wind direction. So yes, I go to the beach when direction + current is as stated above even on a low wind day with just about 13 knots because I often get to ride a calm North Sea with just a few other locals and maybe some seals.
During spring and summer the surf school (and beach-bar) “De Jongens” is open. You can book your kitesurfing lessons or kite coaching sessions (I also give lessons for the Jongens and I give kite coachings and kite lessons myself too. Read the Dutch info about my kite lessons and kite coaching here.)
Bergen aan Zee is not very well known for beginners but I’ll give you one of the foremost reasons I really love Bergen aan Zee right away: during low tide a swin (swiftlet) arrises (a swin or a priel is a natural trench or creek in outer dike lands, subject to the tide). A beach bank always disappears completely underwater at high tide. Now at low tide, the water is so shallow above the beach bank, that the water in the swiftlet is really flat. Still, this part, is deep enough and broad enough to ride. Great for your first meters on the board, if you ask me (and the other locals).
And – great for some unhooked freestyle!
How to get to Bergen aan Zee
I’d go for a rental car since you always need to drive to the spots. To get to the spot in Bergen aan Zee, navigate to C.F. Zeiler Boulevard, 1865 BB Bergen aan Zee. (To book a rental car check out billiger mietwagen, German site)
If you’d prefer to travel in a more sustainable way, the bus connection to Bergen aan Zee is okay during summer. Jump on the bus at Alkmaar central station and get dropped off at the square (Bergen aan Zee sea aquarium) from where you’ll have a 10-minute walk up to the spot.
Bergen aan Zee community
The locals are super nice in Bergen aan Zee. It’s a growing community of beginners, freeriders, wave-riders and even freestylers with boots.
I think this has to do with a lot of elements. First of all,Bergen aan Zee is close to different cities and villages and easy to reach. When we arrive, we can see our beloved North Sea from the car park on top of the dune. Bergen aan Zee also has some beach webcams and my friend Freek from de Jongens will be installing an accurate wind meeter so you know what to expect even before you jump in your car.
Secondly, I feel that the people are mellow here and willing to help you. A good example is the water hose at the surf school which you can use (ask first) to rinse the salt from your body and board.
Unlike at most kitesurf spots in Holland people do not “come, kite and go”. When the weather allows, there are always some kitesurfers who’ll bring a BBQ and a cooler bag with a few drinks to this spot. It’s not uncommon pizza is ordered and eaten at the car park whilst seeing the sunset after a great day on the water.
All of this makes Bergen aan Zee *the* North Sea GEM if you ask me.
The waves, but also the flat water at low tide, the current helping me to ride even in low wind and the great atmosphere. You might not see this at first, but I’m sure you could fall in love with this spot the way I did.
Bergen aan Zee: Recommendations from the locals
Where to stay in Bergen an Zee
As a travel agent, I’d be more than happy to arrange your stay in Holland near or in Bergen aan Zee. You can contact me here. With my company -about which we talked a little bit in this interview I also offer accommodations in other places in holland. They are listed here.
If you’d prefer to stay in a city, my recommendation would be to stay in the city of Alkmaar. Well known for its cheese, by the way! My friends from SOEPP have lovely vintage rooms in their b&b! I find their concept amazing, as well as their vegan food.
Where to eat in Bergen aan Zee
De Jongens has a small eatery where you can buy coffee or a cold beer and some fries for after your session. When you would like a more fancy kind of dinner or lunch, try on of the beachfront joints situated on top of the dune such as Zilte Zoen. But actually, when you are really looking for some proper (veg) food, you might want to consider driving to the city of Alkmaar (15 minutes).
No wind activities in Bergen aan Zee
Try one of the other activities, offered by de Jongens in Bergen aan Zee such as surfing and a high-speed “banana boat”.
Daytrips around Bergen aan Zee
Make sure to make a day trip to the city of Alkmaar. Whilst there, make sure you are hungry, because I have some must-go-to restaurants listed for you here: SOEPP, OOGST, VERS. and SENCHA (the (vegan) pies are a-ma-zing!)
Furthermore, it’s fun to explore the city on a SUP board. My friend from El Kombi can hook you up, and she also gives SUP classes. Nanda is an environmental activist who combats pollution in the channels by organising “SUP CleanUps”. She also takes action against the excessive use of plastic by organising zero-waste workshops. Super inspiring!
Prefer a boat? There are several shacks that rent out small motorboats during spring and summer.
When you go for a (longer) walk to explore Alkmaar and it’s surroundings, make sure to go to “de zes wielen” (six wheels) where you find pretty old windmills along the channel.
More of a thrill seeker kind of type? Alkmaar has a wakeboard cable park within a short drive. There’s also an Outdoor Park in Alkmaar which you can visit when you come with a group (8-30 pax). Here you can find activities such as an obstacle run.
If you speak Dutch, make sure to check out Outbound Kitetravel’s Spotcast (Kitesurf Podcast on specific kite spots all around the world) in Dutch!
This guest post is written by Eva Krul. Together with her husband Ferry, she runs the kitesurf travel agency Outbound Kitetravel. Both are passionate kitesurfers from The Netherlands who love to share their experiences and help their clients book the ultimate kitesurf holiday – whether you are a pro or a beginner!