Ever surfed the cold waves of the North Sea? Paddled through a Sicilian lagoon?
Europe might not be of the same caliber as Hawaii or Bali when it comes to surfing, but it does have incredible spots for those who love hitting the water on a board.
Whether you're into surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding (aka kitesurfing) or the more relaxed standup paddling (SUP), these 12 European destinations will get you wet the right way.
Sylt Island, Germany
This North Sea island at the Danish border has long been a top vacation resort for Germany's upper class.
But it wasn't until the 1960s that surf fanatics discovered it has some of the best waves in Europe.
Today, spas and luxury resorts mingle with surf shops and wild beach parties.
Each year Sylt's Westerland area hosts the world's biggest international windsurf competition, the Windsurf World Cup.
This year's event is set for September 27-October 6.
Despite the cold and frequent rain, an average of more than 200,000 spectators join the 10-day event to watch 140 pros compete in the Super Grand Slam.
Winds are strongest in autumn and spring, but Sylt is a solid spot for novices, who can ride their first waves on the shielded east side of the island.
The area's two main surf schools are Sylt Sunset Beach and Sylt Surfing.
With strong winds blowing an average of 15 days a month and waves cranking up to five meters, Sardinia attracts surfers and kiteboarders from all over Europe.
Despite being at the heart of the Mediterranean -- a closed sea -- you'll still get to feel open ocean thrills.
On the western coast, along the Sinis Peninsula, surf spots include Capu Mannu's giant granite cliff, home to Italy's first surf school as well as Mini Capo, Putzu Idu, Is Arenas Reef and Is Benas.
In southern Sardinia there are top spots for kitesurfing, which is set to replace windsurfing as an Olympic sport in 2016.
Chia, with its spooky fort, and Cagliari's Poetto Beach, which hosted the kiteboarding world championship in 2012, have excellent facilities, clubs and schools, open all year and for all levels.
Run by Italian windsurf champion Mirco Babini, the Chia Wind Club features a superb entry canal. There's also Tribal Surf, founded by a group of top-class instructors.
From Chia you can easily reach Sardinia's main city, Cagliari, another kitesurfing hotspot. At Poetto Beach you'll find Kite Generation, a school-club currently setting up beach weather forecast stations to give wind riders real-time data.
Specializing in kiteboard lessons, the shop also offers holiday packages that include courses, equipment rental and accommodation.
With more than 100 kilometers of canals, plus the major Amstel River, which cuts across the city, Amsterdam is a fabulous standup paddling (SUP) destination.
No waves, no wind.
SUP isn't as easy as it looks. You need to find your balance while paddling upright on a board -- referred to as a "boga." It's a tough, total body workout.