This Is What It’s Like To Surf The Freezing Waters Of Iceland

This is Iceland.

And this is Chris Burkard: adventurer, photographer, and serious surfer. Every year he surfs waters others don’t dare to touch. Chris recently shared with BuzzFeed an exclusive look at his latest adventure: surfing Iceland.

Below are 12 previously unpublished photos from his upcoming gallery collection.

 Contrary to its name and latitude, Iceland’s climate is fairly mild for much of the year.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

However there are parts of Iceland that remain almost primeval in their landscape. There are very few places in the world where you can find ice on the shores of a beach.

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Beach

Years of heavy volcanic activity have given Iceland its craggy, dynamic terrain.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Reynisfjara Beach

Crashing waves have reduced layers of basalt into the tiny, polished pebbles that comprise Iceland’s black sand beaches.

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Beach

Shores speckled with jagged ice required extra caution from the surfers.

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Beach

With waters temps in the low 40s, and the chance of sudden snowstorms forming on the beaches, surfers must wear the thickest wetsuits they can find.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Those who can withstand the chilly temperatures usually get the beach all to themselves.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Atlantic Ocean

Aside from the elements, surfing Iceland presents a unique set of challenges as Chris typically has only a few precious hours of daylight to work with

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
The sun is only up for four to five hours a day in some parts of Iceland during the winter.

However the payoff is typically worth it. Jokulsarlon Beach is located right off of Iceland’s Ring Road, which circles the entirety of the island country.

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Beach

The picturesque glacier lagoon at Jokulsarlon has made several Hollywood cameos, including the snowy training sequence in Batman Begins.

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

When we ask Chris why he continues to surf in such insane conditions he responded,

mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

“Any experience that tests your limits always makes you feel alive. Getting pushed to the brink of what I feel is possible with my work makes me feel larger than life while at the same time humbling me… [and that’s when you realize] it’s all worth it.”


mage courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Take a sneak peek into Chris’ journey surfing in Iceland.


To keep up with his adventures, follow Chris on Twitter.

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