Surfing in Iceland has never been a big tradition, even though it would seem ideal or to do so under the northern lights, but then the freezing waters come into question (the coastal water has an average low of 40 degrees – cold enough to cause hypothermia).
The icy waves of this small island happen to be Heiðar Logi’s back yard. Heiðar is Iceland’s first professional surfer and has been for the past two years.
Heiðar spoke with BBC World Service regarding his hobby-turned-profession, and emphasizes that it’s anything but a walk in the park. “Being a surfer in Iceland, it’s hard,” Heiðar told the BBC. “You put your thick wetsuit on. There’s a lot of current and the waves are like big and heavy. The water doesn’t freeze undir -8°. And because it’s salt water, it’s really cold.”
Heiðar has struggled with ADHD since childhood and since he found his calling, he has found a found a way to cope with his condition without the medication, through surfing.
“With all the energy inside me, feeling like I was stuck inside and having no way to express it, I started becoming depressed. That’s when I remember having suicidal thoughts as a kid. And those aren’t thoughts a six-year old should have.”
It wasn’t until Heiðar reached the age of fifteen when he discovered surfing, and it dramatically affected his ADHD. “After a good day of surfing, you’re absolutely, completely beat. And that feeling of having burned so much energy, and feeling so tired, that’s what I love about surfing,” he said.
“Surfing has absolutely changed my life. It’s given me a reason to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of myself, and make something of myself.”