“We played backgammon, drank cheap wine from dirty coffee mugs, and listened to the sound of nature taking a crack at us...”

As a travelling surf photographer I’ve been on many journeys, but one trip sticks with me. Iceland three years ago was one of those that had it all, and it was absolutely breathtaking.

I went with one of my oldest friends, we didn’t have any expectations or goals other than to have a good time, which always ends up being a recipe for good times. We decided to have a go at tent life for two weeks, chasing whatever potential adventures we found on Google Earth and on the forecasts.


It was an all over solid trip with so many breathtaking moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. That’s what adventure is all about; creating memories with good friends.

We drove around the whole island, but focused on the Westfjords and the south-east part of the island. We had a massive storm one of the first days, and had to take shelter in an old viking settlement. We were humbled by incredible winds and icy sideways rain, but up here tomorrow is always a new day.

We awoke and chased waves on a local black sand beach filled with football sized chunks of ice, a new experience and crazy times!

Some of the best moments from the trip are the many evenings and down days in the tent, playing backgammon, drinking cheap wine from dirty coffee mugs, and listening to the sound of nature taking a crack at us.


One of these days in the tent we stumbled across a photo somewhere deep on the internet, and with some detective work eventually figured out where it was taken. Having seen a bump on the charts we decided to pack up and drive 8 hours north, to the remote fjord itself. We arrived in the dead of night, the only sound was waves rolling in at the beach. Morning couldn’t come soon enough.

We woke up to the sight of clean, chest high waves. That feeling, the freedom and excitement is what it’s all about. The swell kept on going throughout the day, and we scrambled three sessions, surrounded by snow covered mountains, rainbows and a couple of sheep for good measure.

That night we both saw the northern lights for the very first time. It was surreal. From finding the spot, navigating the dirt roads in the dark, scoring waves, and then watching the northern lights. I mean, really…?


There’s this one photo from the trip, my friend is rustling together some breakfast after the morning surf. The wave in the background, the mountains, and the gear tell such a story to me. It’s a personal favourite.


After having travelled the world and shot countless trips, I’ve come to love the in-between lifestyle photos like these more than the action shots. The laughs, the struggle and the photojournalistic ones are the ones I pull up on the screen from now and then to relive those trips and moments.

Photography is challenging up here, with cold being a daily struggle. It drains you of energy, drains your batteries of energy, and makes everything just that much harder. Having dealt with it my whole life I don’t actually mind being cold anymore, it’s a part of who I am and it’s a struggle that make the rewards that much sweeter.

Photography: @hallvardkolltveit

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