Why You Wanna Visit: Stockholm, Sweden
A penchant for surfing and a taste for travel ride tight together. Anyone who surfs, wants to surf exotic waves, and drink in the adventure to find them. Sometimes the best surf trips aren’t necessarily about the quality of waves, but all that peripheral weirdness, those unique good times in unlikely places and the pleasant […]
A penchant for surfing and a taste for travel ride tight together. Anyone who surfs, wants to surf exotic waves, and drink in the adventure to find them. Sometimes the best surf trips aren’t necessarily about the quality of waves, but all that peripheral weirdness, those unique good times in unlikely places and the pleasant surprises. Stockholm, in Sweden, is not the first place that bounces into the cortex when a surf trip is mentioned. Which is why it’s such a good destination.
Chris Friend, sometimes pro-surfer, sometimes student and always savvy gent, has been doing time in the land of Northern Lights. He ain’t shy about admitting that he mostly rolled there for the girls, and who can blame him, but he’s also been digging the vibes around Stockholm and the student lifestyle there. Stab asked Mr Friend to give us an inside track on the place…
Stab: Uh, how’d you end up there?
Chris: Living and studying in Europe has always been a dream of mine, so as soon as I had the chance to apply for exchange from my home University I jumped on it. I wanted to go to somewhere I’d never been and Scandinavia seemed pretty intriguing. I moved out of Sydney in June and took a bit of a sabbatical, travelling with Mitch Crews to South Africa, New York, El Salvador and California, doing the QS events and having a hell time. I came straight to Europe after Cali and found myself in Stockholm. I’ve been based here now for almost four months and it’s been amazing.
How is studying internationally? What are you studying? Or, is your Zanerobe contract better than we thought? Studying internationally has been hands-down the best experience of my life. You get chucked into the deep end in a new place with completely new people, and really get to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of that city. I was super lucky to find a place to live right in the centre of Stockholm which has made the whole experience so much better. I’m studying business at the Stockholm School of Economics, which is a really good school right near the city centre. Zanerobe’s contribution is limited to making sure I look good when I’m out trying to tune Swedes.
Living OS is expensive. Are you a trust fund baby? Nope. I actually got an exchange scholarship from the University of Sydney to study over here. So that basically covered my accommodation, and I’ve been funding day to day life on some savings that I put away during the pre-GFC glory days of Australian junior surfing. Sweden is especially expensive though, even more so than Sydney, so by the time I get home I’ll be broke. It’s worth it though, investing in good times.
Is the move there based purely on women? Yep. My shortlist for exchange choices came down to either Bristol in the UK, Hong Kong or Stockholm. I watched an episode of Embarrassing Bodies which straight away ruled out the UK choice, and then got food poisoning in Hong Kong on the way home from an event which totally turned me off there. Meanwhile my mate Freddie Meadows, a Swede who competes on the QS, sent me a link to photos from a night out in Stockholm and I was sold. It’s next level over here. Walking around my school is ridiculous, almost all girls are eights or above, and the clubs in Stureplan are even better. They’re really sweet too.
What’s the diff between Swedish women and Australian women? The hot ones don’t have egos at all, and are super approachable. They’re very open about sex and like telling dirty jokes. They’re obsessed with Australia and love talking about it, so the accent helps a lot.
The five best things about Sweden? We don’t want European history. We’re talking bars, contemporary underground restaurants and some sick furniture stores or leathergoods places, or whatevs…
1. Girls. Goes without saying. The most stunning creatures on this planet.
2. Fika in Sodermalm. Fika is the daily tradition of a coffee break with and kanelbulla (cinnamon scroll kinda thing) that the Swedes take about three times a day. Sodermalm is like the Soho of Stockholm, but somehow way cooler. Dudes who are way over the top preppy park their fixies at cafes to work on their design work, whilst super pretty girls pretend to study with their laptops. I venture down there to have a fika every day.
3. Nightlife in Stureplan. Stureplan is like the King’s Cross of Stockholm except way classier and without the frequent king hits. Everyone is in blazers with slicked-back hair, drinking champagne at the super trendy restaurants, bars and clubs.
4. Grandpa. It’s a clothing and accessories store in Sodermalm which features the best of Stockholm design. Stockholm style is epic, they don’t care about what’s happening in the rest of the world, just do their own thing and yet it’s known as the best dressed city in the world.
5. Vaske. The outrageous practice of ordering the most expensive champagne in the club, and simply pouring it either on the ground or down the drain. It’s an absolutely ludicrous display of wealth you get to witness sometimes in Stureplan. It’s worth Googling.
Oh, and the waves? Before I came over here I thought surfing on the Baltic sea was a myth. But I met a coupla guys who told me that whenever the wind is blowing over 10 meters per second, for at least five hours, you can get fun waves at a couple of spots just outside of the city. I linked up with Swedish guy named Tim Latte and we actually found some super fun little wedges just an hour from Stockholm at a place called Torö. It’s pretty surreal surfing in the Baltic, where the wind swells originate from over somewhere near Finland, Russia or Poland.
And finally, after the Sunshine Coast, does it feel like everywhere you go opens up your eyes to what the world offers? It definitely does, its a big old world out there. Now I’ve discovered Scandinavia I’ll definitely like to be back to work or live at some stage. But the Sunny Coast isn’t that bad, at least it isn’t as bad as the Goldie. I can still say there’s no place like home.
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