Professional surfing… In Iceland

Two men in thick wetsuits and surfboards look out towards the ocean from a mountain

When people think about professional surfing they tend to imagine summer days at the beach and endless set waves rolling through, but that isn’t the reality of every pro-surfer.

Heidar Logi is a professional surfer from Iceland – the first from his country, actually – and his reality doesn’t really look like the scenes of The Endless Summer.

He first started surfing eight years ago, at the age of sixteen, and turned professional two years ago.

Since there aren’t any competitions In Iceland, Heidar gets to create his own path and career.

“It’s been a dream,” he says. “It was a lifelong dream to be a professional at a sport that I love.”

He started snowboarding when he was 12 and would train every day to improve and try to be like his role models.

“When I started surfing it took a couple years before I knew I had the opportunity to become a professional,” he continues, “and as soon as I realised what I wanted to do with my life and started working on it that’s when things started happening.”

In the morning he enjoys taking some time to relax and make breakfast before he meets up with his friends to surf.

He packs the car and gets ready to drive out. “If [we’re surfing] in my area it’s usually a pretty long drive. We buy some food, get prepared and get ready to spend the day looking for waves.”

When he’s not surfing he can be found making furniture through woodworking.

Iceland isn’t really the first place people think about when it comes to surfing.

The winter season can be very harsh with an average of four hours of daylight. Logi is able to escape from winter and travel to warmer places.

“I used to travel a lot,” he says, “Winter in Iceland gets so dark…people get depressed and it’s really hard on you so I used to go away for three months at a time over the winter.”

“Most people wouldn’t even jump into the ocean so there’s not a lot of people into these kind of things here.”

The surfing conditions in colder areas are not as consistent as the ones in more tropical places.

The wind can often be hard to predict and can come from different directions that can severely affect the waves.

“You would call it running away but after being [away so much] I kind of realised that I don’t need to go away to have fun.”

He then decided to spend money on travels within Iceland to discover more of the place he grew up in.

One of the reasons he prefers surfing at home is homesickness.

When abroad he realises the impact his friends and family have on him, and how important they are to him.

“Every time I get back I always say to myself that I have to make an effort on keeping good relationships and staying in touch with all my friends and family.”

“Whenever I would go to a tropical place I always miss being around my family and surfing with my friends, especially if I’m just surfing by myself,” he adds. “I worship it way more to be with friends and family than somewhere warm and consistent.”

Logi was in Morocco earlier this month but he enjoys having a balance between being at home and travelling.

If he had to choose between surfing at home or surfing somewhere warm, he would choose home every time.

“In a tropical place you have more waves, better waves, and better surf but here the best part is just sharing the stoke with your best friends.”

Going to the warm temperatures of places like California and then going back to the freezing waters of Iceland takes a few days to readjust.

In warm waters surfers tend to surf in board shorts, whereas in cold water they wear thick wetsuits, and if the water is extremely cold they also wear boots, gloves and a hooded wetsuit to keep away as much of the cold as they can.

“At first when I get back home after a trip I feel how my face freezes every time I get under the water and how the wind burns.

“The cold wind burns your face and your nose and I always have to get used to wearing the heavy, thick wetsuit.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMkF4ALhIfg/

It also works the other way around.

“When I go abroad I have to get used to surfing in my bare feet and feeling the board under my feet again. Either way if I’m used to being home or abroad I always take a few days getting used to it again.”

Several surfers choose to compete as part of their professionalism. “I’ve competed before in Nova Scotia in Canada and it was super fun.

“I loved it but my reality is more about travelling and finding new waves and surfing with your friends.”

Heidar also works with surfing and lifestyle brands such as 66 North, Firewire and Xcel, and creates video contents for them.

A short video only requires a day or two of surfing, and for a two-minute video he will be on location for five to six days.

Since he started surfing, Heidar has seen the sport grow in his country.

“It’s a hard thing to do in Iceland,” he adds.

“Most people wouldn’t even jump into the ocean so there’s not a lot of people into these kind of things here so it’s growing but it’s happening pretty slowly.”

With so many different places on his list what is the best place he has visited? “My favourite place to surf will always be at home but the best place I’ve visited aside from home would be Indonesia.

“The waves are just so good and so consistent and it’s warm too,” he says.

There is no doubt, Iceland is where Heidar’s heart is.

 

 

 


Featured image by Alex Guiry