In the early 90’s, the northern most region of the Northern Hemisphere was already counting a small community of surfers. During this time, Mark ‘Doc’ Renneker, a San Francisco surfer/physician, was without any doubt the pioneer of cold water surf exploration. He surfed ice-cold Arctic waves in locations such as Svalbard, the Aleutian Islands, and made several trips to Alaska.
In the year 2000 he decided, together with Steve Hawks (editor of Surfer Magazine from 1990 to 1998), Chris Malloy, and a bunch of other surfers, to set out on a month long odyssey from Ushuaia to Antarctica on a 65-foot vessel. This was the coldest surf trip ever attempted. Doc Renneker and his enthusiasm and passion for cold water waves made a huge impact on a young Chris Burkard, becoming a huge inspiration. Today, Chris’ new film Under an Arctic Sky begins with a deserving tribute to cold water surfing pioneer Doc Renneker.
Speaking frankly, surfing in Iceland or in even higher latitudes, such as in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, is nowadays not as cold as you might think. But if you decide to make the trip there in the middle of the winter when a severe storm is approaching, you might definitely get a reminder from mother nature! And this is basically what happens in this intense documentary Under an Arctic Sky. Burkard sets up this trip to get ”the photo”.
The crew consists of Chris Burkard, Timmy Reyes, Sam Hammer, Justin Quintalt and Icelandic legends and locals Heidar Logi, Elli Thor Magnusson and Ingo Olsen. The goal was to explore the western fjords of Iceland in search of previously unridden waves by boat and by road. But the journey becomes complicated by icy weather, snow storms, dark winter days, freezing winds and more. Will this cold water nightmare be worth it?.
Nordic Surfers Mag editor