Iceland: Winter’s Final Surf Journey

As winter lastly ended, photographer Ross Taylor and surfer pal Andrew Douglas sought out a brand new journey — a tour across the tundras of Iceland. Right here’s what they discovered.

Phrases and pictures by Ross Taylor.

Iceland is called the land of fireside and ice, on account of its mixture of volcanic and glacial terrains. The island sits on the hem of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, which means it’s going to choose up swells from a number of angles. For a lot of, it is a bucket-list vacation spot. For me and surfer Andrew ‘Dougy’ Douglas, it was there as our subsequent cold-water repair.

This wasn’t Dougy’s first time on the market. Over the previous decade, he is made many journeys and satisfied me it is well worth the mission. With just a few weeks left of the Northern Hemisphere winter, and each us needing to make use of up our annual go away days from work, we booked the flights from the UK airport of Bristol into Keflavik, which is a few 45 minute drive outdoors of the capital metropolis of Rejkavik.

Spot Information: Iceland

The largest tease of the journey. We stumbled throughout this pumping French-esque seaside break just for the large tidal swings to destroy it earlier than Dougy had an opportunity to tuck into considered one of its hole pits.

Driving in the dark was never a chore here. Many nights we reaped the rewards with incredible dancing skies. A memory I will cherish for a long time.

Driving at nighttime was by no means a chore right here. Many nights we reaped the rewards with unbelievable dancing skies. A reminiscence I’ll cherish for a very long time.

We hatched a unfastened plan which might contain hitting the street in a trusty Dacia Logan we employed from the airport and observe our noses round Iceland’s well-known ring street, chasing no matter swell got here our manner. On the time, it felt nearly as good a plan as any.

Fortunately, most days we discovered waves that have been price getting modified for, nevertheless chilly it was. It nearly comes all the way down to; how far are you keen to journey in pursuit of a wave abroad? Over the course of the week, our metal-studded tyres lined greater than 1,700 miles.

Dougy loves a playful, backlit wall.

Dougy loves a playful, backlit wall.

The reward for driving half way around the country in a day. I’ve never seen Dougy paddle out at a spot so fast.

The reward for driving half manner across the nation in a day. I’ve by no means seen Dougy paddle out at a spot so quick.

Fancy climbing into these multiple times a day?

Fancy climbing into these a number of occasions a day?

That a lot time on the street comes with its personal algorithm, in a manner. As an example, while you consider eating in Iceland, what do you think about? Did you assume we might ever be speaking about dwelling off service station scorching canines? Iceland is infamous for being costly, so with us making an attempt to stay to a price range, we even discovered ourselves utilizing the common-or-garden dawg to bulk up our night pasta dishes.

Our journey coincided with a very chilly snap hitting many of the island. Day time temps not often peaked above -10℃. Add into the combination scattered wind and water temps so chilly that many components of the coast have been frozen, you can begin to see why folks pop it on their ‘nice-to-do’ record and never their ‘this-is-an-annual-trip’ itenary.

Dougy was sensible. He has a customized go well with made for these type of difficult environments, together with thick boots and gloves. In case you’re going, perhaps take into consideration bringing one other go well with as nicely — there’s an actual likelihood one will find yourself frozen, in some unspecified time in the future in your journey.

I don't want to think about how many hours we sat in our trusty Dacia listening to Of Monster and Men scouring up dirt tracks and along beaches searching for peaks.

I do not need to take into consideration what number of hours we sat in our trusty Dacia listening to Of Monster and Males scouring up dust tracks and alongside seashores trying to find peaks.

This lil' setup made it all worth it.

This lil’ setup made all of it price it.

The massive morale booster was geothermal swimming pools round Iceland. They arrive in all sizes and styles, from fundamental choices on the native leisure centre proper by means of to high-end luxurious set ups aimed on the vacationer crowd. The Icelandic tradition has this scorching/chilly ritual dialled in. Scorching pooling turned a day by day fixture of life on the street, which went slightly bit like: drive, surf, scorching canine, scorching pool, drive some extra, sleep and repeat.

That is a very simplistic mind-set concerning the journey although. The surroundings is like nothing else throughout Europe. One minute, you’re feeling as in case you’re strolling on the moon, throughout beautiful black sand seashores, the following you are driving by means of the Alps. The range is staggering and Dougy summed it up: “It’s just like the craziest place you’ve ever seen however on steroids.”

In direction of the tail finish of the week all of our exploring and Dougy’s earlier information actually began to repay. We gambled on the trace of a possible swell and after 12 hours of driving, all of it paid off. What adopted was two days of excellent waves loved in all types of circumstances, from snow blizzards to cloudless sunny skies.

Forecast: Vik

Putting on a damp suit for the second time in a day was... unpleasant.

Placing on a moist go well with for the second time in a day was… disagreeable.

For me this was a pinch yourself kind of moment watching these beautiful creatures glide along where they belong in the wild.

For me this was a pinch your self type of second watching these lovely creatures glide alongside the place they belong within the wild.

Largely we had the wave to ourselves, nevertheless it was an actual pleasure to stumble upon Icelandic surf legend Steinarr Lár who greeted us warmly and shared some tales of his years pioneering browsing round this coast. Sharing waves with Dougy and Steinarr surrounded by towering mountains lined in a thick winter’s blanket was undoubtedly a spotlight of the journey for me.

We might be the primary to confess it, however browsing up right here is unquestionably not for everybody, in truth it will be most individuals’s thought of a nightmare. Nevertheless, once I ask Dougy what the great thing about Iceland is, and why he retains getting drawn again he says: “Browsing in Iceland entails a lot of time on the street, publicity to the chilly and typically you may drive for hours and discover nothing however it’s one thing particular when all of it comes collectively. Browsing excellent waves in entrance of mountains and glaciers. It’s a magical second and it’s only for you.”

Role reversal. Dougy working the angles behind the camera and me making a rare appearance in front.

Position reversal. Dougy working the angles behind the digital camera and me making a uncommon look in entrance.

Feeling the chill after hours battling the elements.

Feeling the nippiness after hours battling the weather.

And that is the spirit of journey. You’re taking the great, the unhealthy, realise it isn’t all about scoring excellent waves. The skunks are a part of it. We obtained caught rushing whereas panicking to search out lodging for the evening, or sleep within the automobile. Dougy destroyed each his lips and nostril from chilly publicity. Even with all that, they’re a part of our story. Iceland is magic.

Associated Content material: A Historical past of Browsing in Iceland

I taught him this. Joking. It's kinda home-esque.

I taught him this. Joking. It is kinda home-esque.

The look of true love. You want fine Icelandic dining? Tough. This ain't that trip.

The look of real love. You need high quality Icelandic eating? Powerful. This ain’t that journey.

It's easy to get lost in the reality of everything some times. In Iceland, it all feels small amongst all this hugeness.

It is simple to get misplaced within the actuality of every thing some occasions. In Iceland, all of it feels small amongst all this hugeness.

Warming up, Icelandic style. Properly hot pools, something I wish we had in the UK. But we can't even get free car parking at the beach so there's that.

Warming up, Icelandic fashion. Correctly scorching swimming pools, one thing I want we had within the UK. However we won’t even get free automobile parking on the seaside so there’s that.

Yay waves!

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