Gone in Twenty Years
24 October 2011
Michael Schmitz is a pro surfer, something you wouldn’t expect to find in a country where most of the land is below sea level. However, Michael shows that you don’t have to live on the sunny shores of SoCal to be successful in this sport. He began surfing at the age of thirteen, and landed his first national Dutch title two years later, before joining the the pro tour. Almost fifteen years later, he currently holds nine national titles and is ranked thirty-second in the world of long board surfing. For now Michael takes a break from competing and focuses on supporting his local surf community by hosting the Surf Benelux Championship, a local surf event in The Hague, his hometown. His aim is to put Holland on the international map of the sport and help the up and coming generation to compete on a higher level. The Zandmotor is a building project to protect the land from the water. This constructional masterpiece takes the form of a hook-shaped peninsula, a gigantic island of sand. The idea is to protect the beaches in a sustainable and natural way. The currents and winds gradually spread the sand of the artificial island along the coast where it replenishes the dunes. Of principle concern to Schmitz and other local surfers, however, is the fact that the Zandmotor creates a point break that normally shouldn’t exist in Holland. The break creates a strong tube that can be up to five hundred feet long, thus making the Zandmotor the absolute best surf spot in Holland and probably one of the most unique places in Europe.
Production: Christophe Maurice / Filming, Photos & Editing: Jens Schwengel / Music: Bunnystripes