Surfing and summer tend to go hand in hand. So, what on earth is a surf school doing in Norway? Well, the story goes that in the early 1960’s two boys, Thor Frantzen and Hans Egil Krane, were working aboard ships that sailed all over the world. One day, the boys and the ship they worked on arrived in Sydney, Australia. After trying surfing in Sydney, they returned to Norway with a new found passion for surfing. By looking at the album cover of a Beach Boys album they copied the design making their own surf boards. And so, surfing in Unstad Bay began.
Unstad Bay lies in Lofoten archipelago in Norway. The bay sits in the Arctic Circle and experiences strong winds and short periods swells. Winter lacks daylight and it has the best swells which certainly poses a problem. Summer sees almost continuous daylight. Temperatures stay fairly consistent due to the gulf stream current, with the water ranging between 8- 14 degrees celsius. No matter the season, thick wetsuits are a must in the Lofoten islands.
Since Thor Frantzen and Hans Egil Krane brought surfing to Norway in the 1960’s, there has been a bustling surf culture on the rise in Unstad Bay. And it’s in Unstad Bay that the worlds most northern surf school resides, Unstad Arctic Surf.
At Unstad Arctic Surf they focus on quality experience, friendly atmosphere and an adventure of a lifetime amongst the waves and landscapes of this arctic oasis. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert surfer, there is something for everyone. With options from lessons taken privately or in groups all the way to surf camps, you know you’re in for some fun here.
Lessons run from June to August, although you can request to book outside those months.
Private lessons are one on one with a professional instructor. Private lessons cost NOK 1590 (AUS $270) for one hour of beach time with the option to pay NOK 600 (AUS $100) per hour for extra lesson time.
Group lessons require a minimum of three people. It costs NOK 1195 (AUS $200) per course/per person. One course lasts about 3 hrs.
There is a variety of package options depending on level and style.
The Get Started Beginners package will cover the basics of surfing including safety, surf etiquette, wave dynamics, how to paddle a surfboard, how to catch a wave and how to stand up and ride the wave. For the beginner package it will cost NOK 1195 (AUS $200) and goes for four hours.
Next up is the Hang Loose Weekend which, you guessed it, lasts the whole weekend. From surfing to saunas, you will spend your time soaking in all this Arctic paradise has to offer. The package runs from Thursday to Sunday and costs NOK 2490 (AUS $420). Accommodation is provided, although if you are looking for something more private, just ask the Unstad team.
Lastly is the Wet, Hot and Chilli package. In one day you will tackle the waves, soak in a sauna and experience an extra spicy dish to keep you nice and warm. The package is NOK 1295 (AUS $220) for the full day.
With a focus on safety, paddling progression, the “pop up” technique, catching waves, and how to surf the wave, the three-day surf camp in ideal for beginners. All equipment is new, ensuring your wetsuit will keep you warm and your board will help you learn quickly and easily. The chance to hike the stunning nearby mountains, check out the skateboard ramp or watch a movie (obviously a surf movie!) is all on the cards for when you need a break from the waves. Accommodation is provided, although if you want a more private stay that can be requested.
The camps usually run in June and August and cost around NOK 3990 (AUS $670)/per person.
Season Guide to Surfing Unstad Bay:
Beginner/Intermediate: April – September
Intermediate/Advanced: September – April
Where to Stay:
Unstad Arctic Surf does have accommodation, however, if you are wanting something a little more comfortable, look no further than Lofoten Panorama.
Lofoten Panorama is nestled in the middle of a quaint fishing village, about a 30 minute drive from Unstad Arctic Surf. The apartments are built on their on separate dock right on the water front, with views impossible to tire of. Each of the eight deluxe apartments are incredibly spacious with multiple bedrooms, a large kitchen and their own terrace for gazing longingly at the fjord.
The accommodations has two main styles: Superior Apartment 100 and Superior Apartment 165. Both stunning and luxurious, with the main differing factor being the number of bedrooms and dock access. The Superior Apartment 100 has three rooms sleeping up to six people, a private terrace and direct access to the deep water dock. Whereas, the Superior Apartment 165 will sleep up to ten people across five rooms, has a private terrace but does not have direct access to the deep water dock. Either way you are in store for some seriously unreal panoramic views at Lofoten Panorama. Price start at around AUD $650/night, although if you want the Superior Large Corner Room (yes please…) prices start at AUD $1,157/night.