Lofoten surfing

After our three magical days in Lyngen, the clouds were gathering on the horizon as a big North Atlantic low pressure started showing. This would bring some precipitation to the area, although it was most likely to fall as rain, added to the fact the wind gusts were predicted to hang around in the gale region. It was simply not going to be a good time to stay in the mountains if we wanted to keep sane in our campers, so it was time for a backup plan. As the fanatic surfing hobbyist you know me as by now, I quickly got wind of the surf forecast predicted for Lofoten, 8 hours south. The swell was supposed to be 8-10 foot for almost 3 days, the winds looked promising for some offshore perfection, and I hadn’t been in the water since December! Without many options, we decided to do the long drive down there, get in the water, and possibly scope some skiing lines on the way. Off we went!

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Some of the incredible scenery you drive along before turning off on the E10 highway, onto the island chain of Lofoten. Sofia had the telephoto lens in her lap for most of the 8 hours spent on the road.

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The Narvik mountains

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Drive by photography

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At times you simply stop pointing at everything you see and just accept that you have teleported to a Lord of the Rings movie.

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Sofia on a leg-stretcher a few hours from our destination.

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Plenty of fantastic looking steep skiing and ferried lines all around these massifs, with easy access from the road. This year the spring simply arrived a bit early to get after it, but it’s all on the checklist for next spring!

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The majestic bay of Unstad, with its classic pointbreaks and the beachbreak that have been surfed since the 70s. Being so far, cold and fickle however, these waves still remain uncrowded for the dedicated few that spend enough time out here to score.

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The right starting to show its teeth. After taking this photo, I hurried into the lineup for my first surf in 6 months. Nothing beats the feeling of getting back on the board!

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Cold wetsuits are easy to get into when you see the third wave in one minute barrel and spit across the bay.

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Morning surf with Daniel

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Daniel finding some beachbreak perfection.

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Refuelling with some smoked reindeer after the first Arctic surf for mr. Rönnbäck.

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Unreal colors in this photo by Daniel, and despite the liberal grading, this is basically what it looked like when the morning sun illuminated the dark horizon, revealing the vibrant, cerulean hues of the cold water. I think I spent 4 hours in the water on my first morning session, and we were never more than 4 people in the lineup. Despite being rusty from the long break, I think I still have to rank this day in my top 5 surf sessions ever!

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The second night was the best, wind-and-swell wise. A strong offshore breeze groomed the growing swell into ruler-edge lines, peeling fast down the point. The sun even came out for a minute, a rare occurrence on this part of the trip.

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When you see only one guy in the water and sets like this roll through, you don’t waste any time getting out.

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Local charger getting ready for a cover-up on the inside.

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And this is where it all went wrong. After my marathon-session the day before I didn’t have much energy left, but with the perfect conditions I just couldn’t help myself. Somewhere under the lip on this set wave, the second wave of my session, I slipped off my board taking off late, and instantly felt a hard blow to my face, followed by being rag dolled under the water, hitting some rocks and getting dragged across the uneven bottom. When I popped up my face was warm and I couldn’t see anything on my left eye! I quickly got to the beach where I could get looked at by the crew, and was relieved to discover my board had narrowly missed my eye and I couldn’t see because of the swelling. 

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Bummed out to miss such an epic barrel-fest, but incredibly happy I still have two eyes. A solid reminder that things can go wrong quickly if you’re not feeling strong but still go for it!

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On our third day, the swell had reached maximum size, 10 feet at 15 seconds, causing many of the bigger sets to close out across the bay. I had my cuts taped up and got in the water anyways, and we were a small crew out trying to dodge the unmakeable ones. Always a good time paddling around in some heavy surf!

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Not as perfect as the day before, but so damn fun. A good ride on the right can be over 200 meters, even longer if the sand is good on the end section. Here’s me setting up for the second section.

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Steep drops with noodle arms!

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Probably the closest I came to a barrel on this trip, taking off under the lip.

Despite getting beat up, sitting out the best session and feeling like a beginner, it was still such an amazing feeling to change up the elements and do something different after a long winter. Hopefully there will be another swell before we have to return south. Three more weeks in paradise, stay tuned for the next update on our journey!

Jacob

6 Responses to “Lofoten surfing”

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