SURF CLUB SYLT
Sylt is the cradle of German surfing culture: in the early 1950s, lifeguards made their first attempts to surf on their lifeboats.
In 1966 the “Surf Club Sylt” was founded, the current predecessor, to which several Sylt surfers joined and remained for several years.
Since that time, a relatively small group of local surfers has retained the sport, although surfing on Sylt in the 1980s and 1990s was closer to windsurfing. Surf fashion was only available in American magazines at the time. The first surf suits were delivered directly to the island by Jack O’Neill, from California, in the same year.
The young people, the so-called “young surfers” around Jürgen Hönscheid, saw Sylt’s lifeguards on the waves and from then on they no longer moved away from the rescue vehicles and the North Sea waves. The “boys” built their “boards” with air mattresses and brooms until the lifeguards were sorry and gave them their boards. At that time, the cornerstone for the Hönscheid family’s surfing career was laid.
In the 70s and 80s surfing was already part of the island’s surf culture. Those who were able to drive their VW south in the fall, to spend the winter in France, Morocco, Portugal or in the Canary Islands and return to the island in the spring in the sun. Even today, this “winter getaway” is the best “way of life” for many surfers on Sylt. And as the saying goes: “Anyone who has ever learned to surf on Sylt can surf anywhere!”
What followed was the birth of the first German surf scene, based on the color of the islands of Sylt, which has been preserved and developed over several generations until today.
The Surf Club Sylt (SCS) is a non-profit association, offering a central point of contact for this culture in Sylt, and its mission is to maintain and promote its traditions. Through the club, surfers have the opportunity to assert and represent their common interests on the island.
OBJECTIVES AND TASKS
The Surf Club Sylt represents the community of Sylt surfers;
There are three main focuses: working with young people, promoting awareness of nature conservation, representing Sylt’s interests in relation to tourist-commercial events around surfing.
As a point of contact for Sylt children and young people, the club intends to offer participation in a rich and established social culture, which is characterized by tolerance, cosmopolitanism and an emphasis on physical health. Local descendants should be encouraged to exchange the game console for an active life in society. Respect, solidarity and safety at sea are clearly at the forefront here.
Surfing takes place exclusively in close contact with nature. This proximity, in particular, plays a decisive and important role in relation to daily life. SCS would like to motivate its members to realize this solidarity, which has been proven by surfing, in addition to the sporting context and to support the maximum local initiatives of nature conservation and to expand them socially.
The first wave-oriented events have already taken place on Sylt with great interest. As a central point of contact, SCS would like to ensure that the local interests of the organizers are protected. The objective is to develop events in cooperation with interested companies that – in exchange for using the Sylt image – benefit the local society.
IMPLEMENTATION AND DEVELOPMENT
As a non-profit initiative, the club is not in its development phase, at the latest since the club’s headquarters was completed. The constantly growing membership base has continuously provided a financial base, but the association would not be there today without the voluntary commitment, the many supporters and sponsors.
Since its foundation in 2008, the Surf Club Sylt eV has evolved positively in terms of size and various projects, so the Sylt surfing community has also been growing steadily. The construction of the club’s headquarters showed not only the stability of the club as such and the strength of cooperation, but also what the islanders and their institutions think about SCS.
But also in the future we will count on the help and financial support of the people of Sylt to carry out new projects and to promote the young people of Sylt. Only through donations can SCS and V contribute constructively to life on Sylt.
“Sylt is the birthplace of German surf culture, and surfing has always been an integral part of it.”
THE BEGINNING OF SURF IN SYLT
In Germany surfing started in the early 50’s – in Sylt!
In 1953, Sylt’s lifeguards received their first boards, which were quite unsuitable for surfing. The boards weighed around 50kg, had no curvature, no keel and certainly no leash. However, Uwe “Nöger” Drath (born 1927) started his first surfing attempts with these boards on the beach in Westerland.
Dieter and Uwe Behrens, Walter Viereck, Gaston Surtmann, Falk Eitner and many others were subsequently infected with the “surf virus” and in the early 1960s introduced a decisive aspect of Sylt’s surf culture when they made their first trips to the South of France, during the winter months of the Atlantic coast and bought their first “real surfboards”.