Highlands & Islands

Cold spray: Meet the Arctic's secret surfers

Surfer in a still from film North of the Sun Image copyright North of the Sun

Two surfers have documented a winter they spent riding waves above the Arctic Circle in a film that is being shown in the UK.

North of the Sun - Nordfor Sola in Norwegian - is among several documentaries on the Banff Mountain Film Festival's UK and Ireland tour.

It has already been shown at Inverness's Eden Court, where the Canadian festival's tour kicked off last month.

Winner of the festival's grand prize, people's choice and Dolby Audio awards, North of the Sun follows Inge Wegge, 25, and Jorn Ranum, 22, and their bid to surf through a Norwegian arctic winter.

Their surfers' paradise is a beach surrounded by high, steep cliffs on a remote island.

They initially managed to keep the location secret from the rest of the world's surfing community, however, since making the film it has been discovered by other Norwegians.

Over the winter of 2010-11, they shot footage at the beach for North of the Sun.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Jorn Ranum, left, and Inge Wegge built a cabin from flotsam
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption The pair stayed in the shelter during an arctic winter
Image copyright Handout
Image caption The aim of the venture was to surf as often as possible during their stay
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption The pair rode waves coming in off the North Atlantic
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption Jorn suits up in preparations for a chilly surf in snow-covered surroundings
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption When winter set in the men had few hours of daylight in which to safely go into the water
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption The surfers often had to chose between surfing and searching the beach for wood to burn in their cabin's stove
Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption The surfers silhouetted against the Northern Lights

Before winter set in and the days became almost permanently dark, the pair built a cabin next to a large rock using timber and other materials washed up on the beach.

What rubbish they could not put to a new use, they stored away in piles for later uplift by a recycling company.

Inge and Jorn's other environmentally-friendly initiatives included using cooking oil to fuel their van carrying their surf boards.

They also lived off expired foodstuff that would normally have ended up in the bin.

Speaking to the BBC Scotland news website, Inge and Jorn said they were already well used to surfing in cold water before making their film.

"This is just the way it is in Norway," said Jorn.

"We have been to other places for surfing but Norway is the favourite place.

"It is not just about the surfing, but the whole experience. Just being out there in the waves, with the steep mountains all around you, the eagles, and the seal popping his head up to say hello."

Inge added: "I think the coldest temperatures were between three to four degrees C.

"It's not the temperature in the water that is the worst, but the temperature in the air. Especially if there is wind a couple of degrees below zero - then you really feel the cold."

Fish boxes

The duo had planned on ending their adventure at Christmas but, after a short break with their families returned to the beach to continue surfing.

Inge said: "We never thought about going home, we lived comfortably, surfed and had fun most of the time."

When not surfing the film shows the men gathering driftwood to keep their stove burning, and also gathering tonnes of rubbish.

Image copyright North of the Sun
Image caption Some of the tonnes of rubbish Inge and Jorn have collected from the beach

Fishing gear, such as plastic fish boxes, from Scotland were among items they found.

Jorn said: "There is stuff from all over the world. A lot from Russia, Norway and the UK."

Since making the film, the pair's "secret paradise" has been discovered by other Norwegians.

Inge said: "I think it's secret those watching the film when it is touring and screening out in the world.

"But its not a secret in the area where we stay. People have found the hut, and it has became quite a popular 'attraction'."

Jorn added: "People have used the house and some have stayed there for days.

"It's cool that people are using it, fixing broken things.

"Our fourth guest book is almost full."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites