Category: Water sports holidays


Into the blue: free-diving in Antarctica – in pictures

?ahika Ercümen, a world record-holding free-diver from Turkey, is diving in Antarctica as part of a scientific research mission. Photographer Özge Elif K?z?l is travelling with her to document the trip Continue reading…


One-armed Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton beats world No1 in Fiji – video

One-armed Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton came third in the World Surf League Fiji Women’s Pro. The 26-year-old wildcard – who lost her left arm in a tiger shark attack when she was 13 – beat World No1 Tyler Wright and six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore. She was taken out in the semis by eventual winner Johanne Defay

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Sport picture of the day: the moody Mediterranean Sea

A fantastic shot of a windsurfer amidst the waves of the imposing Mediterranean sea, off the northern coast of Italy near Aurelia Continue reading…


Whitewater kayaking: ‘After I learned how to roll I wanted to spend every day on the river’ video

Freestyle whitewater kayaking athlete Devyn Scott takes us through his career: from dislocating his shoulder in a river in the backwoods of Quebec (note the DIY replacement technique); through rehab; and into action-packed paddling on the Ottawa river,…


The extreme surfers travelling to icy shores to find the perfect wave

The 2013 London Surf Film Festival showcases the stories of some of the world’s most daring surfers as they travel as far as northern Canada and Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula in search of empty waves

Ever since the pioneering wave riders of the pre-war era drove north-west from Malibu to paddle into the virgin waves of Rincon near Santa Barbara, the spirit of adventure and discovery has been an integral part of the surfing psyche.

As surfing grew in popularity in the 1960s, surfers set their sights further, seeking out warm weather and waves around the world, a quest captured by Bruce Brown in his film, Endless Summer, which saw two friends travel to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tahiti and Hawaii in search of new surf spots.

At the same time, Australian surfers were discovering Indonesia, starting in Bali, moving on to Lombok and then out to the Mentawai islands off the western coast of Sumatra. New film Serendipity tells of how one Australian surfer, who didn’t want to follow the crowds to Indonesia, instead discovered the abundant empty waves of the Maldives – and managed to keep them secret for nearly 15 years.

Fast-forward to the present day and there are few tropical shores with half-decent waves that are not filled with surf charter boats and surf camps, the line-ups choked with the very people the surfers left home to escape. Even chillier waters are becoming more popular. In the UK, over half a million people are now taking to the waves around the UK, and 11 UK surfing regions have surfer populations in excess of 10,000, according to a new report by Surfers Against Sewage.

Surfers keen to ride empty waves are going to ever more remote, often inhospitable shores to find them. This new era of exploration among the world’s best surfers is reflected in the films being screened at this year’s London Surf Film Festival. Pro-surfer Pete Devries sails to the remote Canadian island of Haida Gwaii in the film The Fortune Wild, living under canvas with two friends, foraging food and catching wild salmon as they surf empty perfection.

Taking things a step further, artist and filmmaker Chris Burkard and a group of surfers set out to explore the wild and remote Kamchatka peninsula in his film Russia. With no roads, they are reduced to 4WD trucks and decommissioned Soviet military helicopters in their quest for waves. In Good Morning Miyazaki Canadian Matt Westcott finds world class breaks and a modest group of surfers who have remained well below the radar of the surfing world on the fringes of Japan.

Is there a limit to the remoteness surfers are striving for, a boundary of ambition? It seems not. A few years ago in Nova Scotia I met a group who were using a snowplough to reach their favourite break; in Hokkaido, Japan, I met a surfer whose winter steed is a skidoo. With high-tech wetsuits enabling surfers to enter water just a few degrees above freezing, a six-foot snowdrift is no longer a barrier to the wave hungry.

And just when you think you’ve heard the most extreme surfing tale, you come across someone pushing the limits even further. At last year’s festival award-winning filmmaker Inge Wegge described an idyllic place to me. The drawback? “There are more polar bears than people”.

Bear Island is an uninhabited speck of land, the southernmost island of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean. It took one and a half years of planning but Inge and his two brothers eventually made it. A film of their extraordindary experience – of hauling their kit across the snowy wastes, camping on snow-dusted beaches and wading into icy waters – will be out next year. Watch the trailer on Vimeo.

• The London Surf Film Festival at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, runs from 31 October to 3 November. Tickets (from £7.50 to £9.50) are on sale now from the Riverside box office (020-8237 1111, © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds