A still sponsor-less Vincent Duvignac gets voted ‘Best Overall’ by his fellow surfers. Photo: Elli Magnusson
The 12th edition of the Nixon Surf Challenge headed all the way north to Iceland last week for an incredible adventure just below the Arctic Circle.
After a week of exploring the volcanic island and surfing little-known breaks peppered along Iceland’s dramatic coastline, France’s Vincent Duvignac was voted Best Overall by his fellow surfers. The 25-year-old stood out from the crowd thanks to his tireless motivation to score waves despite the freezing temperatures, as well as his consistently impressive performances in the glacial water.
Reflecting on his victory in Iceland from the altogether warmer climate of Brazil where he’s currently competing in an ASP Prime event, Duvignac said: “I was so pumped to walk away from Iceland as the Best Overall surfer. There’s nothing quite like the Nixon Surf Challenge, and the opportunity to explore new and deserted spots is always pretty special, particularly when the landscape you travel through is as incredible as it is in Iceland. Thanks to all the surfers and everyone behind the scenes – it’s an experience I’ll always remember, and I hope to be back next year.”
Australia’s Chippa Wilson walked away with the Best Trick award, doing just about enough in the eyes of his fellow surfers to edge out William Aliotti. Armed with his huge arsenal of aerial tricks and an uncanny ability to eek the most out of the conditions, Chippa took to Iceland like a duck to water. “This is about as different as it gets for me, but that’s the beauty of it. There aren’t many places in the world that bring a handful of surfers and snowboarders together on the beach, but with snow-covered mountains running all the way down the ocean, that’s exactly what happened in Iceland. The whole experience was pretty magical, and it’s weeks like this that help to remind us all why we fell in love with surfing in the first place.”
Chippa Wilson dealing with the freezing Icelandic drink by staying out of it. Photo: Elli Magnusson
The third and final award was the ‘I Rocked Iceland’ prize. And that went to the Canary Islands’ Jose Maria Cabrera. Bursting with positive energy throughout the trip, Cabrera was a veritable force of nature that embraced the daily challenge of paddling out in barely-above freezing water temperatures while still finding the energy to party with the best of them on fun-fueled nightlife adventures in Reykjavik with the likes of long-time Nixon team rider Eric Rebiere.
Spain’s Gony Zubizarreta, himself no stranger to the Nixon Surf Challenge, was stoked to be part of the event again, saying: “Iceland was a first for me, and I just knew it was going to be amazing. I’ve never surfed waves as cold as in Iceland – just 2 degrees! It was super-tough to surf well in those conditions, but the beauty of the landscape, and the hot springs, made it that bit easier to bear. It was a real surf trip – no pressure, just pure joy and a sick new adventure! Thanks to Nixon for making it happen.”
Nobody goes to Iceland and not go to a hot spring.
As the surfers headed for the airport at the end of a truly memorable week, Franck Corbery, Marketing Manager at Nixon Europe, summed it all up: “The Nixon Surf Challenge picked up where previous editions left off, and then stepped it up a notch. A great group of surfers, empty surf spots, awe-inspiring natural beauty and sick surf sessions no matter what time of day it was thanks to 24-hour daylight – a winning formula if ever there was one.”
Full video recap of the event to follow next week.