We start our tour at 6:30 AM. It is dark and -6 degrees. A typical icelandic winter morning. In the deepest Icelandic Winters it is dark for almost 19 hours a day and not an easy place to be, with the low temperatures and ever present snow. But the Icelanders are tough cookies, with an attitude of complete ease written all over them. At least, the Arctic Surfers are.
It is the middle of February and we have been waiting for the right weather for almost two weeks. It seems like today is the day and we get more and more excited as we watch the sun slowly start to rise. But there is a problem; we have this beautiful light but we cannot find good waves. The wind plays tricks on us, so we must be patient again and keep on searching.
Anton is an experienced surfer and guide, so he knows the best places, but he also knows how quickly the weather and the sea can change. It is therefore not a big surprise that after five minutes in the water, I can see a snow storm heading our way. It all happens very quickly; I see it coming and the next moment I cannot see anything at all. There is too much snow coming down and the wind is so strong that I have difficulties even holding my camera. Even though I am wearing two pairs of gloves my fingers get so cold that I can’t move them and it becomes almost impossible to release the shutter. The wind gets so strong that I find it hard just to move and the snow fall so thick and heavy that I can’t see what is right in front of me. I am worried about the Surfers, I have no idea where they are or if they are safe. After desperately squinting into the distance for some time, I spot Anton coming out of the water, which reassures me they must be safe. I am overcome with relief and the snowfall lessens enough for us to make our way back to the car. Despite listening to Anton’s instructions and wearing two thick Icelandic jumpers and a solid winter coat, I am still numb with cold, my body freezing. I can’t even begin to imagine how cold it must be for Anton and the other surfers, although I can see it in their faces. I look at Anton and he puts an Icelandic sheep wool sock over his hands. The wool can get wet, but it still keeps you warm. “Well you know what they say,” he laughs, “if the weather is bad in Iceland just wait for five more minutes!”.
A few hours later the snowstorm becomes so strong that the roads get closed and all flights get canceled. Reykjavik is covered in snow.