Cold Water Surfing: Roxy in Norway
Late last year Roxy packed their bags (including some very thick wetsuits) and headed as far north as their travels have ever taken them, into the Arctic Circle and into the dramatic scenery of Norway’s Lofoten Islands. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure delivered a chance to see the Northern lights, soak up some Viking heritage and score a few icy Scandinavian waves.
Photographer Mainei Kinimaka tells us what went down.
After the ROXY Pro France last October, Steph, Kelia, Monyca and I went on a European adventure I’ll never forget. Our travels took us from Northern Norway’s sub-zero temperatures of the arctic circle to the desert heat of the Canary Islands. This was my first ever international shoot with ROXY, so I brought along my camera to document our journey. There are too many moments to count that were amazing, crazy, and hilarious, but here are some of my favorites!
You know the saying, “It’s about the journey, not the destination?”. This was absolutely the case on our way to Unstad, Norway. After 4 flights, we arrived in the small town of Bodo. From here, our entire crew walked through the town from the airport to the dock, where we would take a ferry to the Lofoten Islands.
1. On our way to the dock we stopped to have breakfast at the only restaurant in town, a tiny orange building on a jedi serving up freshly made heart-shaped waffles with berries and syrup. It was an adorable little spot with lots of friendly locals who gave it a homey feel. These were the best waffles I’ve ever had and maybe ever will.
2. The four hour ferry ride from Bodo to the Lofoten islands was simply breathtaking. The ship was beautiful so we did some shooting on the bow as we sailed passed an abundance of tiny islands, and the sea was the glassiest I’ve ever seen. On one side of the ship we could watch the sun setting over the lofoten islands, and on the other side we could watch the full moon rising over the sea.
3. After driving from the dock we reached the tiny town of Unstad. We were warmly welcomed by the family at the Arctic Surf Camp, and after dinner we stepped outside to witness the most amazing sight, the northern lights! Our entire crew was in awe and we yelled in excitement at every bright green flare that appeared in the sky. I still can’t believe how lucky we were to see the northern lights only about an hour into arriving in the arctic circle.
4. Surfing in the arctic circle was something I’d never imagine myself doing. The beach was covered in ice and frost, so we suited up in our 6 ml wetsuits with booties and hoods. Just walking across our lawn to the shore turned my feet completely numb. It was freezing but so worth it!
5. By far one of the weirdest, but funniest, experiences we had on our trip to norway happened late at night on our last day in Unstad. It was nearly 1am at night and all the girls were in our rooms, jokingly talking about norwegian ghost stories and tales of trolls. Steph was really riling us all up about it so we all decided to put on our coats and walk around town looking for the “little people”. The minute we step out of our rooms to go down stairs we hear a pounding on our door and we absolutely freak out, screaming and running back up stairs. Sis runs into her room, locks her door, and calls her husband, Joe. Steph, mons, and I have our moment of courage and walk down stairs to see what’s there. It may sound like we were over reacting, but you have to understand that Unstad is in the middle of nowhere, and our house was on the beach, a fair distance from the rest of the town. Only about 30 people live there and they were definitely all sound asleep by now, so who could be knocking at our door in the middle of the night?
We cautiously open the door to find a group of teenagers eagerly standing on our doorstep. After some explaining (and teasing about our screams upstairs) we found out that they were all attending a gap year program in the lofoten islands where you learn how to surf. They said they saw our posts on instagram and knew exactly which house we were staying in because it was the only one with a trampoline on the lawn. They drove for hours, all the way to Unstad to come meet us and invite us to go night surfing with them. It was one of the coolest moments ever. I got to meet all of these norwegian girls my age who were so passionate and committed to surfing that they put on those huge wetsuits every day to surf in arctic waters, even at night!