Ferry-Wave Surfing at the Baltic Sea

Surfing by timetable

Why travelling far away when the good good waves are so close? In Warnemünde, water sports enthusiasts simply set the clock and follow the bow waves of two old ferries from Denmark. Our travel blogger Anja tried out this unique spectacle.

Surfing on the Balitc Sea? Of Course!


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Surfing at the Baltic Sea? How is that supposed to work? Probably unique in the world, surfers can clock the swell in Warnemünde to the minute and lurk the waves in the water. Swell is not a new hipster bikini, but the incoming waves.

How awesome is that, I thought to myself and spontaneously decided to try out the fun. So one warm afternoon I walked past the Hotel Neptun in Warnemünde, legendary in GDR times, and turned off at beach entrance 11 towards the Baltic Sea. The waving flags in front of the Supreme Surf Beachhouse fluttered colorfully in the air and showed me the way. Wetsuits hung on a clothesline and dripped on the white Baltic Sea sand. Some surfers or those who want to become surfers – lounged in the deck chairs, probably dreamt of the big waves of Hawaii and listened to the obligatory reggae sounds from deep basses.

California meets Warnefornia

Surflehrer Rene @ Supreme Beachhouse Warnemünde © TMV happybackpacker.de

Surf Trainer Rene @ Supreme Beachhouse Warnemünde © TMV happybackpacker.de

A fence of colorful surfboards piled up on the sides of the bar and a breath of Californian flair blew into my face, I had arrived in Warnefornia.

I was introduced to my surf instructor René and we started immediately with an introductory course. I squeezed into my wetsuit and learned the basics of surfing: How do I get up, which wind conditions must prevail and how do I choose a suitable board. I also learned, for example, that only the old ferries of the Scandlines fleet have an old propeller, which is built hydrodynamically unfavourably and causes such waves. Especially if the ferries are well loaded, they should make a good wave.

Garanty of Waves 365 days a year


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After half an hour René looked at the horizon, at which a huge ferry entered the port of Warnemünde and called to me to get ready. Because in Warnemünde, no reefs or weather capers provide the strong surf every hour, but the 29,900 hp engine of the “Prins Joachim” of the Scandlines fleet. Every two hours the ferry departs from Gedser in Denmark to Rostock and brings not only tourists but also an impressive wave with it.

Surf’s Up


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As soon as the ferry had disappeared behind the pier, the water of the Baltic Sea, which had just been ironed smooth, began to roar. Increasingly large waves sloshed ashore. I grabbed my board and ran after René into the cool water. About ten meters from the beach, I lay down on the board, paddled a wave, glided, tried to get up and was carried away by the power of the waves. Wobbling, I got up, only to fall into the water immediately.

Behind me a stand-up paddler paddled and manoeuvred himself gracefully through the waves. Easy peasy as if he was standing on land, he turned on his board during the wave ride and stood on his head. Again and again I fought my way back to my spot after every wave and René showed me excitedly where I had to position myself. I was really exhausted and just wanted to rest, but ” you have to be fast with the waves in Warnemünde” René shouted to me.

After about twenty minutes the Baltic Sea calmed down as fast as the waves had started. I beamed all over as I walked back to the beach and felt great. I shook the salt water out of my hair and sat down at the beach bar. Quickly I got into conversation with the others and talked to the other chillers about the good feeling “afterwards”. I felt like one of them. In two hours the next ferry would drive in.

Fans from all over the World

Fähwellensurfen auf der Ostsee © TMV happybackpacker.de

Ferrywave surfing at the Baltic Sea © TMV happybackpacker.de

Today the Warnemünde ferry wave surfing attracts fans from all over the world. The Scandline ferries run every two hours from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and when the wind is calm or slightly offshore, the waves pile up to one and a half metres – according to a precise schedule. Fifteen minutes before each ferry’s arrival at Warnemünde Beach, it’s time to surf up. However, those who want to surf must be quick, because in the long run the shipping company will replace the old ferries with modern ships, since both ships are older than 30 years.

What do you wait for?

Have you already tried ferry surfing? If not, it’s definitely time now!

The waves come every two hours. Then they only last a few minutes. At scandlines.de you can find out the exact times. Just ask at supremsurf.de. The beachhouse of Supreme Surf is located at beach entrance 11 – in front of Hotel Neptun in Warnemünde.


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