Nosh: Puffin, whale, lamb
Litre unleaded 95: €1.58
Their hero: Leif Eriksson/Bjork
Useful expression: “Hún gaf mér undir fótinn." (she made a pass at me)
Fact: Icelanders drink more Coca-Cola than anyone else.
What is it?
A volcanic island an the top of the mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland sits atop the thunderous expanses of the wild Atlantic Ocean and is exposed to swells from all manner of angles. Being effectively a series of still-active volcanoes, it does not suffer from the uninspiring landscape issues of the Low Countries, but at 65 degrees north, is rather chilly. With the ever-advancing radness of wetsuit technologies, places like Iceland, although prohibitively expensive, are now on the list of places where irie tuberides and radical tail blows can be performed in comfort and style.
A mixture of cobble points, reefs and beaches, Iceland has a variety of surf for those with ample credit card and rubber coating to explore. If you like scenery, pointbreak surf in the not-20ft-and-deathly range, and hate sunburn, surfschools and crowds, this could well be the surf trip for you. These days it seems you have to go a long way to be sure of surfing on your own, and Iceland would fall into that category of being far enough.
Iceland has hit the news twice recently. In 2010 when it nearly grounded all air traffic in the northern hemisphere after the eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and took would-be travellers back in time nearly a century to the days of boat and rail travel. The other occasion was when a referendum was held and the good folk voted not to pay back the UK and Netherlands 4bn Euros it owed them. As if you’d vote yes… Anyhows, what many people don’t know is that Icelanders actually came up with functional democracy. Yep, the Greeks had the idea, but took about 2000 years to implement it. Iceland came up with the idea of a parliament called the ‘All Thing’ in 930AD, and it is still in use today, the world’s oldest still in use. Whether the Icelandic democracy vibe helps your crew agree to hit up the left, the right, or to go back to the hotel have a bath and get drunk, is another matter.
A handful of locals rip the shred in Iceland, but you’re just as likely to bump into a photographer and a gaggle of pros, who can’t get enough of the joint.
Chris Burkard is a beautiful man who makes beautiful photography. To delight in its splendor, click here