Contrary to what you may think, Poland has a thriving surf community with some rippers dedicated to life scouring the Baltic Sea. There's a range of untapped gems (see HERE for full feature), surf schools, competitions and even a national champion.
18-year-old Kuba Kuzia currently holds that honour. And if you thought seeking a new break that's around 30 minutes from your usual haunt, spare a thought for young Kuba, who's currently located in southern Poland, some 600kms from his nearest beach.
Anyway, we decided to catch up with Kuba to see what it means to be Poland's national champ and how the surf scene is right now.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up? How old are you now?
Well, I was born in southern Poland in an industrial city called Ruda Śląska. I haven't moved too far, I live now in a small village about 30 minutes out of the city. From there, the nearest place to surf is around 600kms away – that's how far it is to the Baltic Sea.
You know, we went to the beach when I was younger. I remember taking a bodyboard and when we got there, there was a few surfers which made me upset at first.
Eventually, that worked out for me as that was the first day that my surfing adventure began. Funnily enough, it was not only because of my parents that I got into surfing, but also thanks to my grandma. In a nutshell, she bought me a book with most famous surf spots around the globe. It inspired me so much that I promised myself one day I'll become a decent surfer. with a set of skills sufficient enough to fearlessly charge any of these spots.
What’s the surf scene like in Poland right now?
Quite a lot of people ask 'are there even any waves?' Well, yeah. But what you might not realise is many surf breaks along the coast occasionally get epic. However, you never know when the swell's going to come. But it's why I'll use a Carver skateboard or go snowboarding, just to keep it all topped up.
Its hard to believe how dynamically the Polish surf scene has changed since growing up. 10-years-ago, there were maybe a handful of 'freaks' who dedicated themselves to surfing. Now, surfing's so popular especially along the coast. There's surf competitions, surf schools, surf bars...
To be Polish national champion is an honour – do you have a job as well as surfing to make the dream work?
I don’t have to work yet because I’m still studying I would love to compete in the upcoming ISA World Games, that adrenaline makes me feel alive.
I took part in ISA World Junior Surfing Championships representing Poland. I travel a lot to practice and improve my technique. But for me, there is no better place to surf than in the Baltic Sea, whenever the swell is calling. And although it’s true that almost everything differs in the Baltic than open ocean - I love it undoubtedly.
Where’s some of your favourite places to surf in Poland?
One of my favourite places to surf in Poland is definitely along the Hel peninsula. But to really understand the love of the Baltic, you need to come to Poland and experience it yourself.
How difficult is it to make a name for yourself in the global surf media, coming from a nation that’s not synonymous with surfing?
I acknowledge that it is in fact really hard to create a big name in global surf media especially when you come from country with little surfing history, such as Poland, but it doesn’t discourage me at all. What I can say; find inner motivation, train hard, and never forget to have fun and enjoy every moment.
I think that much more can be done to support European surfers. Maybe some contribution from the European Union for surfers competing in the QS? We promote sport and recreation in every way. More associations companies, restaurants.. should all support their national surfers that’s for sure.