As the story has gone for ages, real freedom and the environment are in a never ending fight with big corporations seeking bigger profits as the current economy requires. This is one of many fights we conscious people are facing all over the world. This time we are fighting for something really close to my heart. We want to protect the perfect surf break in Þorlákshöfn, which creates the best and one of the most beautiful waves in Iceland. Now it’s facing destruction by none else then us, humans.
Multiple high-quality surf breaks have lost the battle against marinas, urban runoff, oil spills, fish farming, ports and industrial development.
We've lost world-class wave peaks and it's hard to believe that a reef which has been shaping for thousands of years into a perfect wave for a ride can be destroyed in less than 24 hours. Hardly any surf spot wins in a battle against progress, or what decision-makers call progress.
However I want to ask you, what really is progress? More money? More industrial development? I guess it depends on who you ask but in my opinion progress in the 21st century is the opposite of building up more areas still untouched by humans and expanding industries. Look around you, isn't it enough? Don't you have all you need? We live in the 1st world but it surprises me every day that expansion has no limits. Don't take me wrong, we are privileged to live in this country where the economy is fluid and kind of stable. But shouldn't we instead look more into where we are as individuals, start looking into personal progress, changing our habits looking after the environment and find our happiness in something that does not require more money to function such as in the ocean & waves or mountains & snow?
Now, not every wave is surfable. That's why surfers need to look for so called 'surf spots'; reefs, rock features underwater, naturally shaped by the ocean into a perfect formation usually diagonal from the coast, allowing the tide and the swell when it hits in the right direction to create a smooth, breaking wave and a perfect surf spot.
Right now we are facing a challenge for our ''perfect wave'' here in Iceland and we don't have a wave like this anywhere else, trust me... The history of surfing in Iceland does not go over 40 years back. We still are the first generation of surfers on this island, but surfing has been increasing exponentially in the last few years. This perfect wave in Þorlákshöfn, which is the cradle of surfing in Iceland and Icelandic surfers' worst kept secret, is now facing destruction.
For many governors, mayors, presidents and prime-ministers, the economy of surfing is still a vague hippie concept. The loss and destruction of surfing sanctuaries are, for many, a matter of numbers, however here in Iceland it could be different.
When we speak up we believe we can be heard and our voices will be respected. The public opinion on surfing is changing and surfing has been recognized as an Olympic sport. Surfers are true athletes, requiring a space to practice and perfect their performance riding a wave, just like a football player requires a playground to practice his/her sport. A surfer requires a professional playground as well, however ours are not built, they are found in natural reefs such as the wave in Þorlákshöfn.
You can't resurrect a lost wave. Extinct surf spots are just like species. You can't bring back the original surf breaks. Damaging perfect waves is killing them slowly.
When we learned about this issue it brought a lot of individual surfers together to form an association in order to help to save this unique spot, while respecting the locals and the town where the break is located. We trust in the decency and empathy of the local people. Destroying something so unique as that wave is in our opinion very short-sighted and unwise.
The Icelandic surf community would regret it forever and it would rift Þorlákshöfn of it's current status as most popular surf destination in Iceland. There are possibilities in having that title that the town hasn't explored yet, and in my opinion would bring more long term benefits to the local people. If the wave is protected, the local kids could become the first generation of surfers in Iceland to start from a young age and grow up to become world class rippers. The town will continue to attract international surfers and can build up more infrastructure and surf related services to become known as one of the best cold-water surf destinations in the world.
Let's not let this wave pass into legend.
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What it's about in visual.
How the wave rolls.