Surfing in Turkey - The Black Sea

When you think of surfing, what places come to mind? I'm sure it's places like California, Imsouane or Taghazout in Morocco, Australia, the Maldives, or Puerto Escondido in Mexico, right - but have you heard about surfing the Black Sea? Read on and find out how our surf trip to Turkey looked like.

5 minutes
Surfer next to Surfboard in the Black Sea
This is what surfing the Black Sea looks like

Turkey, or as it is now called Türkiye, was always on our list of places to visit. From well preserved ancient ruins to delicious food to the almost unreal landscapes found in Cappadocia, we knew we had to see it - we just never expected it to happen so soon. Surfing definitely wasn't on our radar when we stumbled upon a super cheap flight to Istanbul. It was during our research for co-living spaces that we heard about surfing in Türkiye and the Black Sea, and we had to know more. 

Surfing the Black Sea - Ordu Türkiye

Türkiye is not primarily known for surfing, and if it is, people usually prefer to go to Antalya and the Mediterranean Sea. However, it wasn't until we wanted to stay somewhere in Türkiye for a month that we discovered a town called Ordu and its neighboring village of Perşembe.

View from a house over the black sea where we did surfing in turkey

Ordu is home to around 750.000 people, and even has a cable car that takes visitors and locals up the nearby mountain - It can get quite packed in summer here! When we mentioned our plan to visit Türkiye and Ordu during wintertime to my Turkish neighbors in Austria, they amusingly asked, "Oh are you going to ski there? Ordu is perfect for skiing!" Little did they know we were headed there for a different adventure - surfing. We started to get more and more excited to find out what surfing in Türkiye is like in winter.

Two surers in the water in fron of the city of Ordu in Turkey

We stayed at a Surf House/Hostel run by Deniz Toprak called Mellow Turkey. It's a cute house on the premises of his family's old hazelnut farm.  They organize surf weekends at their hostel, combined with yoga, massages, and some really good homemade food - at that time, prepared by the mother of one of the great people working there. 

Me (Gregor) in front of the surf house mellow togeher with some local dogs.

Okay but what are the waves like?

The waves in the Black Sea primarily come from swells created by wind and storms in the area. These are mostly beach breaks and rather short. During our stay in November, we encountered smaller waves ranging from 1 to 2 feet (approximately 0.30 to 0.50 meters) on beautiful, sunny days, as well as larger waves reaching up to 6 feet (around 2 meters) on windier days. 

The beaches we surfed at, all have been sandy beach-breaks, were perfect for beginners. It's worth mentioning that often the forecast predicted great waves for the next day, but the reality was not as good. Often choppy, too windy or just flat. This might have been due to the time of the year we visited, as people claim the surf is on at the Black Sea for around 280 days a year. 

two surfers in front of a breaking wave in the black sea in tureky

During the smaller wave days, I was able to turn my board and actually surf a wave sideways for the first time. What a feeling. I was hooked again and put a goal in my head: By the end of next year, I want to be better at surfing. Now is not the time to give up. 

person riding a small wave in ordu turkey

Even though surfing is what brought us there, we found out Ordu has so much more to offer beyond the waves. We wandered through the hazelnut farms, picked pomegranates and kiwis, and took the paddleboards out for a ride on flat days. During one walk through the neighboring village, we were warmly invited by a local resident to share tea, freshly roasted hazelnuts from his farm, and music - a heartwarming experience that left a lasting impression on us.

Waves for the more experienced

As it was flat most days we were there, one day we went to a neighboring beach in search of bigger swells. The surf guide that was there at the time, Said, gathered his friends and some of the more experienced surfers at the hostel and set off in the pink van towards a beach in Ordu. What a scene it was! Parking the little pink bus on the side of the street, everyone eagerly squeezed themselves into their wetsuits to hit the waves.

a pink bus used for surfing. one surfboard in front of the bus and some people behind it getting ready for a surf session.

We could tell surfing wasn't so common here by the look on the faces of those passing by. Some of them sat down on a bench and started watching what was going on - even the police stopped their car and had to know what was happening. After scanning the water, we decided the waves looked promising and we had to give it a try.

a person triing to catch a wave in ordu turkey.

Surfing in Türkiye during winter in the Black Sea was a fun experience and definitely not something we ever knew was possible. We were lucky to explore such a beautiful, safe area that is normally only frequented by locals and surfing is rather unknown. We were warmly welcomed into a Türkiye we would have otherwise never seen.

A person entering the water with his surfboard under the arm ready for some waves in Tureky, Ordu.
Hi we're Sarah & Gregor
We love unconventional adventures and exploring ruins. You can typically find us petting a cat, fermenting veggies, surfing (trying to anyway), or writing another article for you to enjoy.