Iceland Got Real Surf!

The recent stormy conditions may have kept Polar Bear in port, but they did one very nice thing: they built up a bit of surf. As a result, yesterday I finally got to enjoy some actual surfing in the Greenland Sea. Last week it was fun paddling around in the small waves — and even standing on a couple of little rollers — but it wasn’t really surfing, per se. Yesterday was.

No, there are no photos. All three of us — Maik, Danny and I — headed over to Skálavik, a bay on the tip of the peninsula north of Ísafjörður open directly to the expanse of the Greenland Sea in the late afternoon. On an incoming tide we shared head-high surf with the biggest seal I’ve ever seen in my life. We surfed the beach break in the middle of the bay, paddling out from the east corner of the bay where a rip current made the work pretty easy. The current drifted us west, past where a stream rushed into the bay from a gorgeous waterfall farther up the valley, and into a shifting lineup. It was really hit-or-miss with what you’d get: between the current, the shifty beachbreak peaks and a strong sideways wind, more often than not you’d get sectioned on take off and nothing but whitewater on either side.

Which wasn’t too bad on the sets, which were overhead by a foot or two. And on the couple of waves that actually presented a bit of section, well, that’s what it’s all about. Ahhhh!

In all honesty, the surf wasn’t great. The chop was challenging and the close-outs were a drag. But the joy of dropping into an overhead wave? Well, there’s little else that approaches that. And to be out in such a beautiful location with just two other friends (and our new seal friend who’d pop his head up every now and then), well, it made the chill worth it. A nice way to wind up our time in Ísafjörður.

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