Words: Chris Nelson

OK, you could say I have a slight obsession with cold water surfing. I was raised on frigid Yorkshire reefs, have travelled to many a distant and snowy shore, I even wrote a book about cold water surfing’s pioneers. So when it came to scheduling the Approaching Lines Festival I knew I’d love to be able to put together a session dedicated to frigid frontiers. What I didn’t envisage was being able to pull together a veritable cold water dream team of movies.

First up, I spoke to Chris McClean. Chris is a fellow North Sea native, a filmmaker with an ability to capture the raw beauty of icy landscapes and translate them onto the big screen. Like me he’s a man drawn to icy waters, and I was stoked when he mentioned he may have a brand new film for us. So leading off is a World Premiere of Chris’s homage to a distant archipelago – ‘Atlantic Diversions: The Faroe Islands’.

Next up I spoke to Ben Weiland. Ben is the man behind Arctic Surf, someone with an obsession for scouring maps for isolated breaks high in the freezing lattitudes, and then going to finding them. Ben has been working with renowned lensman Chris Burkard and Bryce Lowe-White on ’The Cradle of Storms‘, in which they head out in search of virgin surf in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. I was stoked when Ben offered us the chance to bring this amazing film to the UK for it’s first screening here.

Sometimes cold surfing is about pain, icecream headaches, aching numb toes and biting wind. Sometimes it is all about the stoke – and nothing captures the pure joy of isolation better than Ben Gulliver’s ‘The Fortune Wild‘. Ben’s film has been described as ‘Wes Anderson does surfing,’ plunging deep into the far-flung shores of Haida Gwaii, a chain of wave-swept, lushly forested islands off the British Columbia mainland. The film won the ‘YEEEEW! Factor Award’ at LS/FF 2013 and will stoke the coldest of hearts.

And there was still room ‘Russia‘, an awesome adventure that sees Weiland and Burkard voyage to the Kamchatka Peninsula with a rad team including Cyrus Sutton, Keith Malloy, Dane Gudauskas and Trevor Gordon. Travelling by Soviet era truck and helicopter, they score pristine surf and unridden breaks. As Ben told me “The highlight for me was landing on a remote beach by helicopter to check a wave I’d been looking at on Google Earth for three years. I feel incredibly fortunate to have this as my job.”

You could say this is a ‘perfect storm’ of cold water surfing – a frigid foursome of frosty adventures, venturing forth into icy frontiers and scoring unridden realms. Here in the the UK we know about cold water surfing, here’s a chance to see how they do it in Alaska, Russia, Canada and on the Faroes. And all for just five of your English pounds. For more info and get tickets, check out HERE