“Snow everywhere, icy wind and metre-high waves – I’d never seen a sea that was so wild.” When Chris Burkard talks about the arctic seas around Lofoton, you can almost physically feel the pull that this place can exert. It’s here, in the tiny coastal village of Unstad, that people have been surfing since the 1960s. Although admittedly only in summer. That was until Chris came along and plunged into the raging surf at -23°C. Thanks to such a lust for adventure, you may find not only the true soul of surfing in the Norwegian Sea off Lofoten, but sometimes also your #LifeChangingPlace.
Lofoten is a Norwegian archipelago, dominated by majestic mountains and jagged peaks, that lies north of the Arctic Circle. When this barren, rocky landscape crunches and cracks beneath snow and ice in winter’s double-digit, sub-zero temperatures, and the raw power of the tides drives waves crashing onto the islands, it’s easy to understand why Chris reinvented himself here as an adventure photographer. “Surrounded by nature at its fiercest, I felt alive in a way I never had before, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. Because the pictures I’d taken, I’d wrested them from the landscape” – that’s how Chris describes his first encounter with Lofoten.
"A place where the unpredictable can happen is a good place."
Even the Vikings were awestruck by the dancing green lights of the aurora in the sky above Lofoten. Chris, too, was fascinated by this natural spectacle, which is especially easy to see in winter. “I paddled in this surreal landscape and had an absurd moment between disbelief and the simultaneous knowledge that what I was seeing and experiencing was real.” When Burkard describes this experience, you understand why he is drawn back to Lofoten again and again in winter to surf and take photographs, despite the harsh conditions.
“I’ve never felt so alive as when I’m in the icy waters of the Norwegian Sea.”
Hear about the extreme challenges Chris faced before Lofoten revealed its wild beauty to him.
Chris’s #LifeChangingPlace as a podcast
Next stop: Lofoten
Would you like to experience Lofoten for yourself? Travel to Norway and discover this stunning archipelago.