Pushing the limit riding Norway’s frozen waves
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UNSTAD, March 19 — Many things about it scream “Surf’s Up!”
Tom Carroll has the bright-yellow board, the sun is shining — well, trying to — and the eyes of the Australian surfing legend twinkle at the prospect of riding the crashing waves.
But this is no Bondi Beach, board shorts are definitely not an option and instead of sand there is snow, lots of it.
Because this is Unstad, Norway, where mountains provide a stunning backdrop and the 55-year-old Carroll is surfing the freezing-cold waves.
“It’s a big change coming from a Sydney summer to winter here,” Carroll, a former two-time world surfing champion, told AFP, crediting advancements in wetsuits for keeping him alive in the frigid waters.
Carroll said that on the US East Coast and in Japan surfers have similarly pushed the boundaries in surfing in dangerously bone-chilling climates, but he added: “The Scandinavians in general are really pushing the limit.
“But this feels natural for them. I’ve just watched them in the water -- it’s so normal for them.
“It’s like, ‘Let’s get changed on the snow, outside the car.’
“There was a girl, changing in the snow, outside the car. My daughters would never think of doing that.
“They would look at you like you’re crazy.”
Carroll is in far-northern Norway at the invitation of Tommy Olsen, a pioneer of Arctic surfing and owner of a surf school in Unstad, where temperatures dip below freezing this time of year.
Carroll, who retired from the competitive surfing circuit in 1993 but remains one of its biggest ever names, added: “This is an exotic experience for me.
“It’s an extraordinary place. It feels really clean, the water, the ocean, the air... it’s all so clean here.
“Crisp and clean. That’s just a lovely feeling.” — AFP-Relaxnews