Arctic Ocean
LAST UPDATED 03/07/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Call code


Net code





4,970 km


Temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers


Very Isolated, Extreme Cold, Difficult Access

Best Months

May - September




Icelandic krona (ISK) Icelandic kronur per US dollar - 70.195 (2006)

Time Zone


Special Requirements

No Alcohol allowed


Roger McLassus: The Dettifoss, Iceland: 31 Jul 1972

This part of the world is where North Atlantic swell is born, as a result, you are often too close to the genesis area of these storms, fronts and depressions to enjoy clean swell. Summer is your only season here (Jun-Aug). The deciding factor is the temperature, even with the latest technology available, human life is basically unsustainable in these waters for any real period of time. You will need titanium vests, drysuts, experimental heating systems and thats just to start. Most surfers use a board with a 'diamond deck', so inbuilt onboard texture on the deck, similar to what is used in the windsurfing industry. The type of wax you would need to be effective here would be liquid at normal room temperature and so transport of it to and from the break once on your board is difficult.

Winter is dark virtually all year round and ice is a big problem, apart from the reality of hitting something it effectively attenuates any swell in the area. The months either side are really pushing the limits of human endurance but with a few hours of sunlight on average it is a possibility for the well prepared. Swells here are massive but often a near blizzard of wind and spray. Summer will bring respite as the storm cells retreat just a little further north.

Hypothermia is a real problem here and drysuits can be difficult to manouvre in. The most exciting aspect of surfing here is that it is truly pushing the boundaries of what surfing is. For once, technology is being dragged kicking and screaming behind some of the expeditions to areas such as this, any day now it is going to catch up and when that happens, extreme cold water surfing will eventially become a mainstream activity. Waves in areas such as this will be the new discoveries and uncrowded paradises of the next generation of surfers. Trade in your boardies for a 7mm steamer, booties and hood and get onboard!

what to pack

Alinja: Effect of water repellent on a shell layer jacket (Haglöfs Heli II); 6 April 2007

Weather can vary during the day in Iceland, temperature also. It can be cold, rainy and windy also during summer. Take some warm clothes, as even in summer it is not "hot". Essential stuff: waterproof gear (water resistant jacket, boots, backpack, tent, etc.), medicines, films/flash cards/batteries, good budget (Iceland is an expensive country).

You would want to bring along your necessities so that you do not need to buy the basics here.

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