For a grimy city with no sea, London sure has a lot of surfers. And even more people who’d like to be surfers, so it’s no surprise that the London Surf Film Festival, now in its fifth year, sells out every time. It also helps that it has a kickass programme, showing the year’s finest surf movies, many of them being screened in Europe for the first time.
Here’s our pick of this year’s must-see films:
1) Bear Island
When he was 25, Inge Wegge and a friend spent nine months living in a remote makeshift wood cabin surfing and starving their way through a Norwegian winter. The resulting story was 2012’s award-winning movie North of the Sun.
This time Inge decided to bring his two brothers along for a ski, splitboard and surf adventure on Bear Island, an even more isolated island with no inhabitants, save the nine temporary workers at the weather station and the polar bears. To make things even more interesting his partner back home was pregnant.
They stock up on supplies from dumpsters, hitchhike on some giant ships and row the last stretch to the island, where their mission of ski touring, while dragging their surfboards on sleighs, begins.
Will they find waves? Will the bears get them? Will they get along? And will they make it back before the snow melts?
Bear Island is less a search for stoke, though it certainly is that, especially when Inge goes speed flying off a cliff, but it’s also about the boys setting themselves a ridiculous challenge, and their quest to find harmony with the natural world. It’s also a trip so far removed from the kind of adventure any of us will ever experience, which makes it compelling viewing. The boys’ singsong Norwegian dialogue, soundtracking the subtitles, fully adds to that otherworldly vibe.
Bear Island is showing at the London Surf Film Festival on Friday 16th October.
Watch the trailer here: