This Is What It’s Like To Surf The Freezing Waters Of Iceland

BuzzFeed’s exclusive look at acclaimed adventure photographer Chris Burkard’s chilly trip to Iceland.

1. This is Iceland.

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2. And this is Chris Burkard: adventurer, photographer, and serious surfer. Every year he surfs waters others don’t dare to touch. Chris recently shared with BuzzFeed an exclusive look at his latest adventure: surfing Iceland.

Below are 12 previously unpublished photos from his upcoming gallery collection.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

3. Contrary to its name and latitude, Iceland’s climate is fairly mild for much of the year.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

4. However there are parts of Iceland that remain almost primeval in their landscape. There are very few places in the world where you can find ice on the shores of a beach.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Beach

5. Years of heavy volcanic activity have given Iceland its craggy, dynamic terrain.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Reynisfjara Beach

6. Crashing waves have reduced layers of basalt into the tiny, polished pebbles that comprise Iceland’s black sand beaches.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Beach

7. Shores speckled with jagged ice required extra caution from the surfers.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Beach

8. With waters temps in the low 40s, and the chance of sudden snowstorms forming on the beaches, surfers must wear the thickest wetsuits they can find.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

9. Those who can withstand the chilly temperatures usually get the beach all to themselves.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Atlantic Ocean

10. Aside from the elements, surfing Iceland presents a unique set of challenges as Chris typically has only a few precious hours of daylight to work with.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

The sun is only up for four to five hours a day in some parts of Iceland during the winter.

11. However the payoff is typically worth it. Jokulsarlon Beach is located right off of Iceland’s Ring Road, which circles the entirety of the island country.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Beach

12. The picturesque glacier lagoon at Jokulsarlon has made several Hollywood cameos, including the snowy training sequence in Batman Begins.

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

13. When we ask Chris why he continues to surf in such insane conditions he responded,

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

14. “Any experience that tests your limits always makes you feel alive. Getting pushed to the brink of what I feel is possible with my work makes me feel larger than life while at the same time humbling me… [and that’s when you realize] it’s all worth it.”

Image courtesy of Chris Burkard Photography

15. Take a sneak peek into Chris’ journey surfing in Iceland.

16. To keep up with his adventures, follow Chris on Twitter.

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