There’s a lot on my mind as I bob in the frigid water—namely, that my two-week trip’s itinerary is falling apart before it even starts. The Australian surfers I’ve traveled to Lofoten, Norway, to meet are back at the surf camp, scouring the Internet for immediate flights to France. They’ve been here a week, so the novelty of surfing at night has worn off for them. I’m a little jetlagged and a lot wave-starved, and floating alone on top of the black water offers some mind-clearing reverence.
This time last night, I was in New York City, sitting on the A-train en route to JFK airport to hop a flight to Oslo. From there, a smaller plane brought me to Bodø and an even smaller plane took me over an Arctic fjord to a place called Leknes on the Lofoten Islands archipelago. Now I’m sitting on a surfboard, dressed in six millimeters of neoprene and waiting for a wave to roll under the midnight sun. Problem is, there are no waves. Instead, every 20 minutes or so a pulse from the North Atlantic offers a shore-bound lump just big and fast enough that I can stand up on my board for a moment.
Like many surf trips, this one was booked on short notice. The plan was to meet a group of professional surfers and cameramen in Norway, where we’d spend a week exploring the coastline of this rarely surfed area. The second week would be spent on trains, traveling through Norway from top to bottom and ending in Oslo.
Mother Ocean had different plans about the surfing part.