Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Sten, surf dude

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‘My earliest K-Town memory? Noel Fielding passing by in the street and giving my hair an appreciative smile’

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Sten Vermeiren runs London Surf Breaks, a very cool local enterprise that whisks land-locked surfers and absolute beginners down to the coast for a weekend in the waves. “Surfing is an addictive sport and I became quite seriously hooked whilst at university in Swansea, learning to surf in the beautiful Gower peninsula,” he explains. Having arrived in London, he found himself regularly struggling with his surfboard on trains and busses, or hitch-hiking, all to get the required surf fix. “Kentish Town is obviously an amazing place to live but it’s not an easy one if your favourite sport is riding waves,” he says. So he did something about it, setting up a business running affordable weekend surf trips in his minibus.

When were you happiest? Well I’m really happy running my own business now, but there can be alot of late nights.

Where would you like to live? In the turret at the top of the Assembly House – that would be the best flat.

What is your favourite sound or smell? One of those rubber bicycle horns that go “honk” and the smell of grilled haloumi.

What is your greatest Life achievement? Planning and independently trekking the original route to Everest Base camp (from Jiri, not Lukla) without a guide or porter.

Sten surfing in the canal for his promo video. Watch it below.
Sten surfing in the canal in a suit for his quirky website promo video

What is your earliest K-Town memory? Noel Fielding passing by in the street and giving my hair an appreciative smile.

What makes you unhappy? The fact some people will just waste their lives away.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life? Owning a Volkswagen camper-van.

What is your most unappealing habit? My friends don’t like me being right all the time.

Where do you hang out? When I don’t have friends round I like to drink in Shebeen or chill out at the mixed bathing ponds up the Heath on a sunny day.

What’s your best local experience? Being asked if I need a Jamaican witchdoctor by the Red Face Lady.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? I don’t get to wear board shorts and flip flops enough, but that situation is getting better.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you? I am sorry sir but you’ve had enough cheese samples.

Gnarly surfer human pyramid
Gnarly surfer human pyramid

What has your career taught you? You are only really free if you are doing your own thing and chasing your dreams. If those dreams help make other people happy too, that’s a double result.

What is your favourite dish and why? The satellite dish at SETI which is looking for Aliens. When we do get first contact I think it will give humanity a well needed kick up the bum about some of the stupid things we do as a species.

Worst gig and why? I once saw one of my favourite comedians, who I shall not name, get ripped apart by a heckler. It was really sad to see brute aggression suffocate intelligence and wit.

Describe yourself as an animal? I love being in the water and making things, so I am quite ottery. I even have a thin layer of blubber that keeps me warm in the winter.

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Fancy a surf trip? Visit LondonSurfBreaks.com for more info, and look out for a special discount in the current edition of Kentishtowner in print too.

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