Adrian Mattern, Andrea Hoeppner, Balz Müller, Lars Thierling, Sönke Roever and Peter Löseke reveal their insider tips by the water
A quick trip out on the water - that's simply part of summer. We asked our watersports professionals for their insider tips on everything from kayaking to windsurfing, from wingfoiling and stand up paddling to scuba diving. For you they reveal their favourite spots - even for spontaneous trips!
Adrian Mattern, white-water kayaker
What is your own personal favourite watersports spot? My personal favourite spot is definitely the Ötztaler Ache in Austria. I moved to Innsbruck because there is a beautiful river nearby. The Ötz offers various levels of white water at almost every time of the year - no matter if it's low or high water. Until last year, it was the largest unobstructed river in Tyrol. Today there is a dam, but it’s still a great river!
Which waters do you recommend for a spontaneous trip on the water? In Germany, I always recommend the Loisach near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It's not particularly difficult, but has beautiful white water over a long season. Alternatively, training canals like the ones in Freiburg Hüningen or Augsburg are ideal kayaking spots because they have controlled water all year round. A big advantage if you come from central or northern Germany, because these districts are easier to reach from there than the rivers of the Alps.
Which waters do you recommend for beginners? And why are these particularly suitable for newcomers? Personally, I prefer the area around Saalach on the German-Austrian border near Lofer. It's a river with an easy degree of difficulty for kayakers that has great river passages and lots of unpoilt nature. A bit of experience with kayaking will suffice here. The river isn’t dangerous and you can also try white water kayaking. The porting points are easy to reach and you can always find other kayakers to go with you on the water.
What are your recommendations for newcomers? A great spot for advanced rafters is the Soča in Slovenia. This river offers the best routes in the white-water difficulty levels three, four and five. There you can also experience wild nature and turquoise blue, clear whitewater. The Soča is also ideal for trying out and/or training and getting a taste of more difficult white-water kayaking.
Andrea Hoeppner, professional windsurfer
What is your personal favourite watersports spot? My absolute favourite spot is Cape Town. In Germany, I'm always drawn to Fehmarn because it's easy to reach from Hamburg. Fehmarn gives you the right spot for every wind direction. The perfect spot for north-west winds is Altenteil, where you have wind from the left and nice surf entry conditions for windsurfers and kitesurfers. The spot is also perfect for wingers to learn wave surfing. The outside waves are nice swells for getting good practice. The entry is relatively easy. Even with a bit of shorebreak, you can easily get into the water there. Otherwise, Heiligenhafen is a good place to go when the wind is from the north-west. In south-westerly winds, Dazendorf is a good spot - but you have to watch out for the stones in the water there.
Where do you go when you spontaneously want to get out on the water? From Hamburg, it takes about an hour to reach the Bay of Lübeck. However, there are rarely waves there in a north-easterly wind. From there you can go to Dahmeshöved, although parking is a problem there. In north-easterly winds, the best spots are Dahme and at the Dahmeshöved lighthouse, where it’s best to surf because there are no parking facilities there.
What is your recommendation for beginners and intermediates - and why? Wulfener Hals on Fehmarn and Orther Reede are very suitable for beginners because these are shallow water areas where you don't need to know how to water launch. Here you can go back and forth and beach launch and the water is pleasantly shallow. This spot is also suitable for intermediates. In addition, there are also good surf schools there that offer both beginner and intermediate courses and the training material can be rented at a reasonable price.
Balz Müller, professional wingfoiler
What is your personal favourite watersports spot? Lake Silvaplana in the Upper Engadine, Switzerland.
Where do you go when you spontaneously want to get out on the water? Flüelen on the Lake of Uri in Switzerland: good thermal north-westerly wind in the afternoons when the weather is fine.
What is your recommendation for beginners - and why? Naxos, Greece: warm shallow lagoon and great wind conditions.
What is your recommendation for up-and-comers - and why? El Cabezo Tenerife, Spain: cool bump and jump conditions.
Lars Thierling, stand up paddler
What is your personal favourite watersports spot? My personal favourite watersports spots are: 1. The Hariksee in Niederkrüchten, because I can be there in 12 minutes and relax with the dog. 2. For the community: tours with friends and nice people through Dutch cities, e.g. Utrecht. 3. For fun: on the ocean, because here I can always test my limits.
Where do you go when you spontaneously want to get out on the water? To the Hariksee in Niederkrüchten. There’s a good infrastructure here with a SUP school, gastronomy, sufficient parking and an alternative leisure offer for the whole family if they don’t want to do watersports.
What is your recommendation for beginners - and why? The AREA X in Roermond (Netherlands) and the Hariksee in Niederkrüchten. Here beginners will find a good infrastructure and paved or shallow entry points. The waters are calm and manageable, so you can quickly moor somewhere on the shore in an emergency.
Which areas do you recommend for more ambitious paddlers - and why? If I want a more demanding experience, city tours are a good option. But you should always familiarize yourself with the local conditions beforehand. In addition to the sometimes narrow waterways, you have to keep a close eye on the other water traffic (pedal boats, motorboats, excursion boats), as well as obstacles on and in the water. On the other hand, such tours offer a "different" insight into the respective cities and sights. As a rule, you can also book guided tours, for example with us at www.paddeln-macht-spass.de/kurse, to make your preparations a lot easier.
Sönke Roever, sailor
What is your personal favourite watersports spot? The Baltic Sea, because it is so varied. Nine countries border it and every coastline is different. Besides lonely bays and dreamy harbours, there are also cities worth seeing like Gdansk, Riga, Stockholm or Copenhagen. On Blauwasser.de there are many reports on experiences and information on sailing areas, which always give you new inspiration.
If you want to get out on the water spontaneously: Where is the best place to go? The German Baltic Sea coast and the Netherlands are close by and can be reached quickly. Both areas are varied and offer trips for every level.
Which areas do you recommend for beginners? The classic for beginners is Croatia, because you can sail very sheltered here and there are countless possibilities for mooring. An insider tip is the Algarve (Portugal). There are many harbours and with the prevailing northerly wind, you can sail very sheltered here, too, and that's on the Atlantic, mind you!
What is your recommendation for intermediates? The south-west of England is fantastically beautiful. But there are tides and all kinds of weather. Consequently, the area can be described as demanding. The Stockholm area is also demanding because of the many stones and rocks that characterise the landscape. But you are rewarded with a very attractive landscape and Scandinavian serenity.
Peter Löseke, underwater filmmaker & diver
What is your personal favourite diving spot? As I’m a big fish fan, I’d say my personal favourite spot is the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia (South Seas). There you still have the chance to dive with hundreds of sharks in remote locations in crystal clear waters.
If you want to take a spontaneous dive, where do you go? To dive spontaneously, I usually fly to the Maldives. The Maldives can be reached in nine hours by plane from Germany and offer everything that gets a diver's heart racing. Large schools of fish in all colours, rays, sharks and turtles.
Which areas do you recommend for beginners - and why? If you don't want to get your diving licence in Germany but rather in warm tropical waters, I find Indonesia and the Philippines very suitable. There are many dive sites for beginners and the price/performance ratio is very good. From the first dive, you have the opportunity to enjoy the colourful underwater world.
What are your recommendations for up-and-comers - and why? Raja Ampat in Indonesia is definitely one of them. I know of no other place in the world where the biodiversity is so great and the corals so unique. In addition, there is this uniquely beautiful island world.
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