What It’s Like to Surf in Iceland

Writer, filmmaker, and surf enthusiast, Ben Weiland, documents his adventure into the icy trenches and barrels of Iceland during a violent storm swell season. And it is as pure as it sounds ruthless.

There are countless reasons what makes surfing amazing as a sport and as a lifestyle, but one of the top reasons is how it instills passion into anyone who wants to do better. It is impossible to meet a surfer without a burning sense of passion, because progress will not exist without it.

While some people are lucky enough to live in surf towns or in tropical areas where spots are between five steps to a 30-minute drive away, some surfers are used to long, arduous journeys that entail hours of driving, rocky boat rides, and freezing conditions. This is what writer, Ben Weiland, experienced when he set an adventure to surf in the most remote areas of Iceland, one of the most unlikely places on Earth to do so. The fact that it is “unlikely” makes it even more special—hence the absence of crowds, and the abundance of waves for anyone tough and passionate enough to search them.

Weiland is part of the team who filmed the documentary, “Under An Arctic Sky,” and he recounts the harrowing journey he had to endure along with Icelandic surfers to catch a storm swell. In his beautifully written, prosaic feature published on Surfer.com, Weiland describes the journey to be almost an impossible feat. But in the world of surfing, nothing is impossible as long as there is the reward of unforgettable surf in the end, even when the water is so cold that it could literally kill.

“The Icelandic surf community is a small, tight-knit group that have arranged their lives and jobs to accommodate the whims of Iceland’s temperamental character, exploring jagged fjords and vast black-sand beaches hoping to find the next icy barrel.

It sounds romantic, but the reality involves endless hours of travel, crossing from one side of the island to the other, chasing the ever-shifting wind and trying to stay one step ahead of storms that could strand you for days,” writes Weiland.

There are probably hundreds of thousands of videos and features about surfing. However, most of them are self-indulged (still entertaining nevertheless). So when we came across Ben Weiland’s story, we just had to share it.

Read the full feature here, or watch the breathtaking official trailer of the film below. Make sure you watch until the end.

Under An Arctic Sky – Official Trailer #1 from Chris Burkard on Vimeo.


Camille Banzon is the music editor of The Violet Wave. After years of covering music festivals, concerts and reviewing albums, she decided to move to a tropical surf island, where she runs a hostel and lives off of coconuts, bikinis, and streaming. Her work on music writing can be seen in FHM Philippines, Pacifiqa, Coconuts Manila, 8list, and Amplify.ph. She likes groovy basslines, clean waves, and stinky cheese.

Twitter: @thevioletwave

Facebook: The Violet Wave

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