Did you know the Arctic got it good, too? Those storms that sit high in the North Atlantic (like this past one that's been blasting Europe over the past four days) can often squeeze over Scotland, reintensify and deliver solid waves to Norway. Like on Monday, when the local crew went for a cautionary glance at the surf and it turned into something spectacular.
This clip was shot by Mats Slaastad Birkelund in freezing temperatures and features Joel Stevenson (JS’ bro), who moved out there a number of years ago, starting Infusion Surfboards, based out of Fredrikstad in Viken County. But what started as a cautionary glance at the surf evolved into a day to remember in the Arctic.
“This turned out to be one of the best and biggest days I’ve seen in my three and a half years up in the Arctic,” says lensman Mats Slaastad Birkelund. “We get big swells every winter, but the wind is usually a problem. It was a bit windy this session, as well, but not as bad as it could’ve been. Honestly, we didn’t really know what to expect.
"The forecast looked so good early on, with perfect wind and all. But a 13.5 feet at 18 seconds swell is so rare up here, at least that long of a period, so we expected it to drop a bit. Also, on the last big swell here in September, this spot got kinda messy and weird. It’s a boulder pointbreak, and it only works when it’s big.”
“We drove there in the morning mist,” he adds. “The sun is not to be seen at this time of the year. Polar night. But we have daylight-ish from 10am to 2pm. The sets got bigger and bigger throughout the session, and the guys where charging. One broken board and a broken leash. The air’s about 32F and the water 41F.
"You’d need a 6/5mm wetsuit, 7mm boots and 7mm gloves just to get through the session. So sick, though.”
Dig it, above.