How could we not go i thought to myself, especially when the island was right in the storms path.
My dear friend Petter and I satt hungover in my kitchen figuring out what do, more so me. Petter had just quite his job at a major news firm and couldn't really grasp the fact that from now on he had nothing preventing him from traveling.
Iceland had been on my bucket list for sometime, after seeing all the photos Burkard and Arctic surfers posted on Instagram. I figured with winter just around the corner, now is the time to go before it gets way to cold and dark up there.
The trip was all booked in under five minutes, where i later looked up at petter and said - ”Bro, we are going on your first real surf trip to Iceland dude, its gonna be cold”.
Both of us flared of excitement, however with us leaving in less than 48 hrs we had to act fast.
Packing for surf and camping trip can be a challenge when you only have 30kg in baggage allowance and you are carrying several surfboards, tent, camp gear and more. But, some how we made it work fortunately.
Landing at Keflavik airport early that morning, I already knew that the swell was had hit. We quickly drove straight to one of Icelands more well known spots to have a look. Our first glimpse of the ocean was of this peeling wave with only four other guys out and some friendly local shredders hanging out on the rocks just chilling after a morning session, one of the guys even shouted - ”You should have been here earlier man, it way better”. No matter what you do as a traveling surfer, your always seem to miss the best waves. Anyways, it was still pumping with two meter sets rolling through with clear blue skies and no wind. Petter and I hit the water quicker than you could spell Eyjafjallajökull, which is the name of the volcano that paralyzed Europes air space back in 2010 if I´m not misstaken.
With no real plan of movement the next coming days, we decided to follow the different swells hitting Iceland from every single direction imageable and matching it with wind directions in hope of finding some rideable waves. Iceland is no easy place to read. The North Atlantic is a violent place and with Iceland being i the middle of the cradle, its well known that some pretty heavy weather gets thrown towards the moon like island. One older man passing by us even said - ”Hey, if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes”.
Our first day was beautiful, Iceland had given us a little taste of this Arctic paradise, but little did we know of the endless wave hunting and driving we had infront of us. We definitely spent more time driving and searching for waves than surfing them, but it was our curiousness of what was around the corner that kept us searching which consumed our time, as well as all stops we did to see some really cool and unique places.
A couple of days into our journey around the island we stumbled on this left hander located on the North side, facing the Greenland sea. We set up camp right next to the point, watched the wildlife activity in the line up, consisting of huge seals lurking around the shoreline in search for something to eat. Both of us decided to paddle out for a sunset session in the arctic blue water with a beautiful sunset and empty lefts rolling in. The fact that we were surfing somewhere on North Iceland at a spot hidden from the road with no one out definitely put i smile on our faces from ear to ear.
As the dark fell upon our campsite, this fella popos up from out of nowhere and sets camp right next to us, his name was Sam Woods or ”The real Sam Woods” as we called liked to call him throughout the trip. He was a solo traveller from Arizona, USA just exploring the Island. We quickly became aquatinted before the Northern lights started its majestic dance above us, where our conversation swiftly faded into baffled faces, laughter, banter talk and later numb faces from the cold, where we quickly called it night and crawled into our tents.
Next morning we headed out for a session with Sam watching us from shore, snapping away on his camera. As i was paddling out through the surf after i had taken a wave to shore, i see Petter focusing on incoming sets, when all of a sudden this massive seal jumped out of the water right behind him, way to close to be anything but one pissed off seal i thought. It wasn't one of the usual seals you see around either, way bigger than what we have seen around. Both Petter and I took fast strokes to shore caught our breathes and decided it was time continue the search for other waves around the island.
Nearly a week on the road driving in circles around the island surfing, hiking, swimming in natural hot springs, giving yourself a clean after sometime in long johns and salty skin. A cosy bed, proper meal accompanied with a lager in the heart of Reykjavik was truly needed. The cosy, but stylish town had so much to offer. strolling the artsy streets, browsing in stores, eating typical Icelandic food and ending the day bar hopping until 5 in the morning was all time. We had just heard rumors about Reykjavik being of the chain, but it couldn't be any more spot on. The cosy town is one of its kind and should be on every ones bucket list.
Even though the trip was kind of repetitive and a challenge, roaming the roads trying to out lur the passing storms always in hope of finding peelers around the corner. It was worth every single coin and time spent. A surf trip to Iceland is so much more than just your average surf trip, but don't get you expectations to high in scoring every day, just enjoy it and go with the flow. Iceland do get great waves, you only need to know when and where.