So many wonderful individuals, so many individual experiences… From our trip organiser and owner of Stockholm’s most vital surf shop/hangout (654); Johan Orrestedt, to our guide Joel Den Besten who grew up surfing everyday on the coasts above Sydney; living now in Stockholm and expanding his Scandinavian surf adventure with yearly trips to this island. From Ben Gorham and Niklas Kleebender who made the brave decision of making Iceland their debut surf trip and taking a step towards fulfilling their lifelong dream of riding waves, to legendary pro skier and avid surfer Jacob Wester; frothing to get as many waves in the tank as possible before embarking on the annual ski season. We were blessed with the presence of two incredible people and photographers Sofia Sjöberg and Gustav Wiking who supplied us with such inspiring material during our stay… I also spontaneously joined the trip after bowing out from the European Championships a day earlier than expected/desired. Determined to revisit as I hadn’t been back for 12 years.
The best way that I can describe Iceland is as us such; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands (all the countries I know and have visited) - are the brothers and sisters of Scandinavia… However Iceland is the Grandmother or Grandfather of our region. Ancient, wise, powerful and comforting…
It seems as though we met many of Iceland’s various moods; as many as one can hope for in 7 days. We drove on roads that couldn’t possibly be “the road”. On a 60foot seafaring vessel we navigated the coasts of a great nature reserve and we experienced a sense of emptiness long lost in most modern countries. The nature and the energy silenced me for the first 48 hours of our trip. I literally had nothing to say, I was speechless due to the natural power felt at all times… We experienced heavy winds, and total stillness… We had cloudless skies and sunshine, we had rain and darkness. We saw rainbows on a daily basis; some of which were double. Others were full and stretched perfectly from one side of the valley to another. We witnessed the enchanting North shine aka Northern Lights which made it understandable as to why such gods, creatures and magic was once a reality for our forefathers. We surfed alone in bays of such magnitude that, upon arrival, head high waves appeared to only be ripples. We had perfect conditions for those who had never ridden waves before, and we had perfect conditions for the more experienced members of our expedition.
On day one, we knew of a dying swell hailing from the North and decided on an area that had enough exposure to potentially get us in the water before nightfall. With every kilometre driven from the calm of the inner Fjord we noticed more energy lapping the shoreline. We rounded a headland and received a view that no surfer can see without having to stop, investigate and clarify. We had arrived at a stretch of coast no wider than 2km’s, peppered with an abundance of points and random reefs. Upon a foothill we achieved an elevated viewpoint and saw the top half of a world class left grinding along the eastern side of the headland. We rapidly and recklessly ran down to the random house perched a stones throw from the lineup to seek permission to cross their land and get a close-up of the magical setup. A lady appeared and gladly gave us access… She also mentioned never seeing a surfer here prior to our crew of varying characters. Her closest neighbour lived roughly 40 kilometres away so it must’ve been a slight shock seeing us all at her front door. As we topped the headland we were met by a wave of such perfection that would rival any surfers dream scenario. Grinding for over a hundred yards before spitting into a deep and safe channel. How was it even possible? No expectations, no knowledge, just experience, a leap of faith and a fair dose of luck… We even joked about it during lunch previously that day - “imagine we’re missing perfect barrels right now” haha, yeah right, not a chance…
By the time we were clad in rubber, boards waxed and fins in place; half an hour had passed. We paddled out and witnessed a bomb set from the water… Joel made it out first and had taken the wave prior, unfortunately missing the best wave of the set.
Not a single set of similar size rolled through for the remainder of our session. We all caught great waves; don’t get me wrong, but when one has seen what we saw it was a slight blow to not be able to release our excitement in the ways we’d imagined. What if we’d eaten in the car and made it a couple of hours earlier?
Regardless, what we saw will exist forever as will the geological magic that is that left hand set up. Point being, with what we experienced during the seven days and the new found knowledge of the left - there is no way that any of the eight surfers lucky enough to have been on this trip won’t be back. And soon.
After an all nighter driving back to Reykjavik - we’d returned to civilisation. Which felt slightly odd as we’d barely seen anyone other than our crew for the majority of our stay. We all had new nicknames, we all had new lifelong friends, we all had unforgettable memories and we all considered updating our loved ones at home that we’d be extending our stay for another week… Exactly how it should feel after a surf trip, no matter where in the world you end up visiting.