THE ICE­MAN COMETH

Carve - - CONTENTS -

Leon Glatzer ex­per­i­ment­ing with how well he can surf in all the rub­ber when he's used to surf­ing in just board­ies.

We thought we'd find out. Three weeks of daily up­dates over the phone and fore­cast­ing re­sulted in some of the best con­di­tions this stretch of land can pro­duce.

The Lo­foten Is­lands in the north of Nor­way are where many storms are cre­ated, mean­ing you are just as likely to be stuck in­side your cabin as you are to score a per­fect swell. The winds, cou­pled with the fact that you only have a cou­ple of hours of day­light in the mid­dle of winter make it al­most im­pos­si­ble to score great waves in a given pe­riod of time. Pa­tience, my friend, is your best buddy here. And cof­fee - in­dus­trial amounts of cof­fee.

We were watch­ing this a bit out of the or­di­nary swell move in along with some favourable winds and weather for more than a week be­fore fi­nally mak­ing the call, and with any low pe­riod swells we knew that a tiny change in the weather

'CAN A BOARD SHORTS BORN AND RAISED SURFER LIKE LEON GLATZER GO SKY HIGH FULLY COV­ERED IN MORE THAN SIX MIL­LIME­TRES OF RUB­BER?'

'LAUNCH­ING MAS­SIVE AIRS AND DO­ING RAD­I­CAL MA­NOEU­VRES IN THE TROP­ICS IS ONE THING - DO­ING IT IN THE ARC­TIC CIR­CLE IS SOME­THING COM­PLETELY DIF­FER­ENT.'

would cause it to miss the is­lands or make it un­sur­fa­ble. But we were lucky, or tal­ented ... what­ever you want to call it. For Leon, launch­ing mas­sive airs and do­ing rad­i­cal ma­noeu­vres in the trop­ics is one thing - do­ing it in the Arc­tic Cir­cle is some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent. You have to adapt to the sit­u­a­tion and learn as you go, like re­al­is­ing that 8 mil­lime­tres of rub­ber makes it im­pos­si­ble to feel your feet on the board. So much for mus­cle mem­ory.

It took Leon only a cou­ple of waves be­fore he read­justed his foot place­ment and started land­ing moves. What seemed to be a tricky sec­tion quickly turned into a ramp to launch him­self into a sil­hou­ette against the snow cov­ered moun­tains. For three days straight we were swim­ming and surf­ing a per­fect left han­der at the now some­what fa­mous Un­stad Beach with no one else in our part of the bay. These wa­ters have be­come rather crowded the last cou­ple of years, but there’s a lack of great tal­ent around, so the line­ups clear up once the waves go over­head. When you live in these parts of the world you get used to be­ing cold and in a sort of bliss­ful pain. You get used to hav­ing to change out of your wet­suit in gale force winds and bliz­zards and to han­dle con­den­sa­tion and icy front ports on your hous­ing. What is a daily rou­tine for us is viewed upon as pure magic by visi­tors, like bring­ing a ther­mos of hot wa­ter for the cold suits, avoid­ing duck­dives like the plague, or chang­ing in and out of the suit in a mat­ter of sec­onds. “He got it all di­alled in. He’s a lo­cal.” was thrown around a lot the first day by the oth­ers. No need to be colder than you need to be. It’ll drain you.

Louis, our videog­ra­pher, who swam for two hours in over­head freez­ing con­di­tions in the morn­ing, quickly re­alised the harsh re­al­i­ties of this place and had to shoot the sec­ond ses­sion of the day from land be­cause of fa­tigue. Not even the big­gest por­tion of whale stew in the world could’ve changed that. Your body starts pulling out all of the blood of your fin­gers and toes to keep your vi­tal or­gans warm when you swim in

'THE LO­FOTEN IS­LANDS IN THE NORTH OF NOR­WAY ARE WHERE MANY STORMS ARE CRE­ATED, MEAN­ING YOU ARE JUST AS LIKELY TO BE STUCK IN­SIDE YOUR CABIN AS YOU ARE TO SCORE A PER­FECT SWELL.'

these tem­per­a­tures, and even­tu­ally your body starts shut­ting down cer­tain func­tions, mak­ing it hard to speak, think straight or even just feel the cold. It only takes an hour and a half be­fore you start hav­ing to use both hands to fire the small shut­ter but­ton, or can’t feel your feet, be­cause you nei­ther have blood, strength nor any tac­tile feel left in your fin­gers and toes.

For Leon, a Costa Ri­can grown surfer with Ger­man roots, go­ing to the Lo­foten Is­lands started out with a “I could see my­self liv­ing here” in the car to the surf, to a “not a chance in the world” when he got in the wa­ter, and ended with a “maybe have a cabin or a type of get­away here” af­ter hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the surf. These is­lands are a mag­net for cre­ative souls, and the lo­cal

'WHAT STARTED WITH WE’LL TAKE WHAT WE GET, TURNED OUT TO BE SOME­THING OF A VIK­ING FAIRY­TALE'

com­mu­ni­ties are a mix of the lo­cal fish­er­men, artists, thrill seek­ers and wan­der­ers.

See­ing it all come to­gether and the stoke on Leon’s face when he pad­dled around in the freez­ing wa­ters is what it’s all about. A trip that started out with a “we’ll take what­ever we get” men­tal­ity turned out to be some­thing pulled out of a Vik­ing fairy­tale, and cre­at­ing mo­ments and con­tent hardly ever seen from these parts of the world. Glassy, clean and good size con­di­tions are rare up here, not to men­tion the oc­ca­sion­ally blue skies that we were blessed with for three days straight. Look­ing back at the images and mo­ments pro­duced it’s not too hard to ex­plain to peo­ple why we push our­selves out here. We just love it...

The sun is a rare thing in the Lo­foten is­lands. When it does show it­self it's oh-sospec­tac­u­lar.

Leon an­swer­ing the 'can a board­shorts kid still surf in full winter rub­ber' ques­tion fairly com­pre­hen­sively.

(right)

The Nor­we­gian Christ­mas tree farm. (above)

Fata Mor­gana. An Arc­tic vis­ual phe­nom­e­non caused by the the air be­ing so clear it can lead to hal­lu­ci­na­tions and con­fu­sion. Old sea­far­ers would see moun­tains that weren't there... These are real. We think.

(right)

'Where the flip is the wave guys? Are your sure it's down here? Gu­u­uyyys?'

(above) Airs. Check. Rail work. Check.

(right) Nor­we­gian sky disco lights.

(be­low)

Ice ain't much fun to surf with.

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