The Faroe Islands—Seeking out Surf

“Far off the Sea” by Faroese poet Christian Matras

Softly falls the night
and children are in the field below the fences.
They run for the haybarn door
where shrunk boards leak
sweetness into the dusk.

Far off the sea whets his roar
in the hushed night between the hills.

Gásadalur, a village on Vágar, Faroe Islands

Transport yourself to the North Atlantic to a collection of islets situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean and you find the Faroe Islands. Belonging to Denmark but independent in language, outlook and governmental affairs, the Faroes offer a refreshing dose of self-direction and cultural preservation. Alongside this crimson autonomy resides a tempestuous ocean throwing up insensate and chilling walls of water.  These walls are not bulwarks, but rather passages of adventure for the few Faroese and world surfers who lance themselves into the North Atlantic’s frigidness and ride the cold.   Please spend a few minutes below taking in the short film Seeking out Surf, a well-cut work that details the surf peregrinations of several European (primarily Basque, I believe) riders and a Faroese resident among the islands.  Overall, I think the lesson learned from the Faroe Island is that the notion of discovery in surfing is not dead.  On the contrary, there is a kingdom of waves that remains to be explored.  It may mean shivering but, in the end, the dark waters and new waves will be worth the iciness.

Please continue reading as there are many more film clips and outstanding photos!

Photo by Bergur Johansen of Fog Island

Photo by Gregers Reimann

The Faroe islands, in spite of all their beauty, do have a controversial history that dates back to their Nordic roots: “grindadráp” in Faroese.  This tradition is an annual slaughter of over 950 pilot whales.  I will do a second post later on this practice.  However, I would like to preface this eventual piece by saying that every country has some sort of dark history or outmoded rituals. I do not think this should preclude anyone from visiting.  On the contrary, respectful dialog and exchange produce provide much greater impetus for change than isolation. I will comment more in the coming weeks.