Šventoji, milk and blood
Girmantas | Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Spots | January 20, 2010
Šventoji – it’s like a home. It seems that we know everything about this place, but once we have to write it down – can’t find the right words to begin.
Lithuanian coastline is not so long - only 90 km between Būtingė and Nida. Sandy beach is not the best choice for the wave hunters, but the wreck of Šventoji old sea port makes the coastline rough and so forms one of the best Baltic sea wavespots.
The wavespot was found not so long ago. Back in 2000-2002 nobody would believe, that there are any waves for the waveriding or even surfing in Lithuania. As one of the waveriding pioneer Gedas (better known as Akinys – Eyeglass), went to see the waves of Šventoji he found a totaly different forms of waves, than most locals were used to surf. So the spot was baptized Akinys, sometimes reffered as Akinio nasrai (Jaws of an Eyeglass) as at that place Šventoji river brings it’s water to the sea.
The fight of milk and blood
Akinys is also known as a home of the biggest Lithuanian wave competition series Milk&Blood. The name is derived from ancient Lithuanian tale that resembles in the landscape of the spot. After the strong rains brought by Atlantic cyclones, Šventoji brings the blood red water to the sea. So the fight of white sea foam and red river water begins. Modern windsurfing pioneer in Lithuania Gintas Lapėnas (www.vejasgalvoje.lt) found the relation between the ancient Lithuanian fairy tale and the spot at the jaws of Šventoji river.
The tale is about girl who maried a sea creature serpent Žilvinas. It is one of the most known fairy tales in Baltic mythology and is called “Eglė – the queen of serpents”. Over a hundred slightly diverging versions are collected. But the main idea remains the same. Žilvinas – the husband of Eglė was living in the sea. To call him she had a password:
“Žilvinas, dear Žilvinas,
If alive – may the sea foam milk
If dead – may the sea foam blood…”
Eglė brothers got the password by intimidating the little daughter of Eglė and killed Žilvinas. Worried Eglė called the husband, but only the foam of blood return from the sea. Inspired by the tale Milk&Blood wave competition series and waveriders movement was born.
Winds and waves
The best time to catch some wind and waves here is October – November. Unfortunately neither water, nor weather temperature cheers up. Rarely the sum of temperatures reaches over 30 degrees celcius. Strong cyclones formed over the northern Atlantic brings the winds all over the North sea, then through Denmark in to Baltic sea. Strongest winds are southwest direction (sometimes over 60 knots) and forms swell up to 6 meters. Old sea port pier wrecks holds the southern current and forms a sandbank. There is no hard bottom, so waves are forming on the sand banks. Currents and waves change the shape of the bottom on every storm. This creates variety of conditions on every single session.
The main scheme for the spot would be:
- zone for going in/out. Closer to the southern pier wrecks the waves are milder and the wind more consistent.
- waveriding zone. This area is migrating a little, but basiacly stays in the middle of the spot, behind the first whitewater.
- bus parking is famous for huge glassy waves, and another small pier wrecks which inspires you not to mess up there.
- and the Hole of Akinys, wich sucks everything in, and once you’re too deep – it’s hard to go either in or out.
Once you’re in the water the further you go from the south pier – the bigger and nicer the waves are. But also the wind drops and current gets more agressive. Usually the most radical waves for the waveriding forms right before the Hole of Akinys. But all the time you have to be aware of not getting into trouble. The wind dies there, and the rip before the north pier wrecks is not helping much. Most of the masts, boards, mastfoots and other stuff was broken by trying to go out underpowered in this area.
With southwest direction, Akinys works as a sideshore – side-on-shore spot, but once the south or south-east winds kicks in, Akinys may become a heaven of side-off-shore riding. Baltic sea has no groundswell, so the waves are formed by the winds. In this case, waves period shortens (over 10 seconds is very rare), but the number of rideable waves increases. The biggest waves are formed by western winds. So if the south wind turns in after a few days of west wind the waves become very long and perfectly shaped. On such day you may get 5-6 cutback wave with many various sections.
New sea port
But it seems that the legend of Milk&Blood may remain only in the books and fairy tales. Regarding the EU law, EU members must have a sea port at every 50 km of the sea coast. The plan to rebuild Šventoji sea port wouldn’t be a bad idea if the steps would be taken in a normal way. Unfortunately the USSR heritage in the minds of municipality clerks helped to sell out the whole old port teritorry for private owners. The new block of apartaments is rising. Government has no room to build a port facilities in land (on the shore of Šventoji river), so they plan to build huge piers and put all the infrastructure on the seaside. That would lead nowhere else but to the destruction of Akinys wave spot.