The waves were bombing and breaking over shin deep jagged volcanic reef. The first major set took the two young locals out of the equation. One snapped leash with the board last seen heading skyward towards the horizon and another board split in half, leaving a lot of room for pondering the consequences of surfing in Iceland. Lone surfing is a reality on this island. Back up is not. Ice covered roads, heavy snow, flash blizzards, extremely remote locations make time and distance to medical attention a real issue. These thoughts do little for one’s confidence when staring down the face of a draining overhead wave.
© Laura O'Byrne
Taking off deeper in the gusting offshore wind was something of a mission. Scoring views from hollow kegs spurs one on. Finally it all caught up; taking off on a solid set wave, tiptoeing to the bottom, skipping out into the flats, crushing lip impact, slamming into the reef, knee first into rock, excruciating pain, gasping for air, floating, checking, praying. Thankfully walking or more accurately limping away from this Icelandic surf adventure was a true blessing. Iceland must have wanted to leave something permanent to remember it by, a fingertip sized kneecap divot. As if there weren’t enough awesome memories from this trip to last a lifetime!