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Surfing in Iceland

Not many people would picture surfing in the cold icy ocean around Iceland, however that is not as uncommon as one would think. The Icelandic coast line makes surfing exoctic and you can ride the amazing waves surrounded by volcano lava and glaciers.

Surfing is getting more popular within the Icelandic community, however not many are up for the task because of the cold and the time spent looking for the waves.  The surf in Iceland does take work and many travelers seeking to surf in Iceland do not succeed as they find it difficult to catch the perfect waves. However they are not disappointed in the amazing surroundings. In order to surf in Iceland, it is crusial to study the invorement and weather patterns before hand.

It is important to keep in mind that plans may change, it takes experience, research and knowing the conditions here to get the surfing time and place just right. Being adaptable and knowing when you have to shift your plans is the best way for you to have a great trip with the best waves.

There are surfing tour groups that you can use that will make it easier for you to learn to judge and find the best weather and water.


When surfin in Iceland the brutal winds, freezing water and snowstorms will not be your only challange, the beaches are usually made of very sharp rocks, altough there are a few of them that are better and have minimum amount of rocks. However all good surfing locations are reef- or point breaks so they break very close or on to rocks or cliffs. So you need to be extremely careful, in a good shape and never surf alone.

The best time to visit Iceland to surf is from october to march. That is when heavy storms hit the island. The ocean at this time is at freezing tempatures so a 5-6 mm suits are extremely essential.


Where to go surfing in Iceland?

Most locals ride the waves around Reykjanes peninsula where the surroundings are composed of black lava fields. The coastline of the peninsula is mostly made up of lava flows and the waves break on very sharp volcanic reefs, except on the black sand beach at Sandvík. Sandvík has a great spot for beginners in surfing in Iceland. Altough be careful there as well if it is overhead, as it can equal the ferocity of the reefbreaks.

The Snæfellsnes peninsula also picks up plenty of swell from the S-W but with more beachbreak than the Reykjanes but many of those roads are only accessable by 4WD.

Then there is Vík on the south coast of Iceland. The landscape in Vík makes it a very attractive spot to ride the waves and we do recommend visiting Vík if just for the scenery.

Here you can also find surf reports and surf forecasts in Iceland.


What to bring with you when surfing in Iceland?

Usually when surfing you might take with you a bathing suit and sandals, however that is not the case here in Iceland.

It is essential to bring with you a:

  • 5-6mm wetsuit
  • Swimsuit to wear under the wetsuit
  • Neoprene shoes, hood and gloves
  • Towels
  • Surfboard
  • Warm clothes like Winter boots, wool socks, hats and mittens.
  • Warm blankets
  • Hand warmers.

There are places where you can rent the surfing gear here in Iceland. It is not always easy to bring a surfboard with you on the plane so that may be the most convenient option.

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