UPDATE: Five Surfers Drowned in Holland Last Night


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Updated 566d ago

Cover shot is a stock image of where the tragedy happened in Scheveningen, uploaded to MSW's UGC database.

UPDATE: May 19 2020: The search has continued this week to recover the body of the fifth surfer who tragically drowned at Scheveningen in Holland last Monday.

Three funeral ceremonies have taken place today and yesterday for some of the surfers who died when a huge storm blew foam up the beach's harbour wall, trapping them in the water. The foam was so high that it made it impossible to surface for air. A huge search operation has been on going since.

The surfers have been named locally as Joost, Sander, Pim, Max and Mathijs. Tragically, Mathijs has yet to be recovered from the water. A paddle out to commemorate their lives is being planned for the next few days. "There were strong winds yesterday and the fact that more then 1,000 people are supposed to attend... it is crazy," one local told MSW.

Tributes have been pouring in over the past week as surfers from all over the world stand in solidarity with their Dutch brothers and sisters in perhaps what could be one of the greatest tragedies in surfing history. To commemorate, lensman Jop Hermans and designer Bas Spaans came up with the below design featuring five herring, one for each of the souls lost. Herring feature on the flag for Scheveningen.

We'll keep you posted on any further developments.

EARLIER: May 12 2020:

In tragic news, five surfers died in Holland last night at Scheveningen Beach, one of the country's surfing hubs.

Authorities are still attempting to figure out exactly what went wrong but a few witnesses have described the scene. It's understood that a heavy storm was raging off the coast and it ended up blowing towering mounds of foam along the harbour wall, which spread for hundreds of metres across the beach and beachbreak.

According to local witnesses, the foam also extended onto the white wash and from the shore, it's unlikely anyone would have been able to see how deep the foam was on the water's surface. “Six experienced watermen went swimming with suits and fins, but three of them couldn't fight the current and got dragged under the foam, they didn't make it out. And two experienced surfers didn't make it out either. Huge drama, the surf community is in total shock and disbelief,” one photographer told MSW this morning.

“The community is hurt, no one dares to go near the water with a board this morning, even though the swell is on,” he added.

Another local said: “It is terrible. It was a small group of really fit and healthy surfers they went to bodysurf and got in trouble by a surprise set. They got caught inside with a ton of foam on top of the whitewash, and a few other surfers.”

One person still remains unaccounted for but a search by local coastguard was stood down late last night before it was resumed again this morning. In Holland, an intelligent lockdown is in place during COVID-19, meaning you have to be sensible and abide by social distancing measures. From all accounts, this was a horrific tragedy rather than people taking unnecessary risks.

The coastguard did manage to get three people to shore but attempts to revive them failed. Our condolences go out to the families and friends of all those impacted by this news, and to the Holland surfing community as a whole. We'll update when more comes in about the situation.