#71-72: Surfing in Bulgaria

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I don’t really get the burek, chevapi, Balkan obsession of some people and maybe this is why I’ve never made it past Zagreb into the center of the Balkan peninsula. Even Zagreb I confess was just a plane takeoff spot for Indonesia which is why I love Zagreb :)). Anyway, the time was ripe for a trip down south. And as all trips that are worth tripping over them it was a surf trip :). The usual Mediterranean wave chart was really depressing until in the far right corner barely still on the map I cough eye of some color representing 2-3m wind swell in the Black sea. Hm, what if… no, it’s 1400km drive one way, no way in hell am I driving 2800km in just 3 days. I started texting people and throwing around the idea. It was just stupid and exotic enough to spark some interest but in the end everybody canceled. Until I texted Borut. Damn, he was even more stoked on the idea than me :). So it was 3pm on Friday, planing to leave in an hour or two and still looking for a third person with calls like:

“Hey, what are you doing? Would you like to go surfing in  Bulgaria in 1 hour for 3 days?”

“Amm…what?”

Surprisingly Borut found a 3rd person, Anja, and it was go time!

The Black Sea

It’s not really black. Maybe it’s a bit darker. And it has only half the salinity of Mediterranean sea which you can notice right away, no burning eyes even after a long session, deep duck dives seem easier and even with bigger more powerful waves surfing seems softer. It’s nice. Maybe bring some extra volume in your boards. The sea is bounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine and it’s not that small at all. The longest fetch which is in the E-W direction is over 1100km and our swell which was N/NE had 600km of fetch. This is more than of the richest surf place in the Mediterranean which is Sardinia. Still it seems you are mostly surfing in the wind and when the wind dies down waves quickly follow. This is why the best spots are the ones that are protected from the wind.

Surfing in Bulgaria

The most famous left in Bulgaria is Ahtopol, a fishing village with a sheltered bay that needs at least 2m to start working and it’s maybe 1/3 of the size of the waves on exposed breaks. So with 2m swell we picked an opened beachbreak at Sinemorets instead. 3 fun sessions that when it had size reminded me of a windy day in France, it gets punchy and it walls up nicely so you can really surf, not just catch waves. Apart from Ahtopol and Sinemorets there are other more or less protected surf spots in the area. Check: Sozopol, Lozenets (we surfed here when it was really small), Tsarevo, Varvara, Silistar, Rezovo. And I am sure there are some breaks in between if you are up to some exploring.

There is a surf scene in Bulgaria. People are really friendly, mostly you will be surfing alone, on best days they say there are 20-30 people in the water at the best spot. The food is great, lots of fresh tasty vegetables, salads, bbq meat, soups, fish, mouthwatering mega pancakes… and it’s all pretty cheap together with beer. Finding a place to sleep is easy, there are plenty of places on booking.com, towns are full of domestic tourists but not overly developed, huge mega concrete hotels are rare, but there are plenty of restaurants, shops, fishing boats, ice cream stands and I coffee machines. There is a coffee machine in the street every 50m!? Bulgarians seem to really like coffee. Main roads are okay, there is a highway from Sofia to Burgas so you will be on the coast in no time. To really blend in drive a big car with low suspension and low-profile tires which might not be the best option for the potholes on the side roads but you will blend in :).

Ha…what more to say, it was an amazing trip, beautiful county and fun times. If you have any questions use the comments of write me!

 

Ahtopol, Sinemorets, Lozentes 13.-14.8.2016

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