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Lofoten provides the location for “The Arctica” – the first Nordic surf film focusing on a female surfer. Maria Petersson holds the north Norwegian waves among the world’s greatest.

Published: 8 March 2018

Many people will automatically associate surfing with summer, hot beaches and lovely sea temperatures. 

But there are toughies who just as well put on their wetsuit, grit their teeth and throw themselves into icy cold water surrounded by snow-covered mountains. One of them is Swede Maria Petersson.

Lofoten

Lofoten.
Photo: Pontus Pålsson

Among eagles, seals and orcas

In the new short movie “The Arctica” – a surf edit, for those familiar with the terminology – we get to follow the 29 year old surfer on her journey through the waves along the coast of Nordland county. 

“Director Pontus Pålsson thought it would be cool to make a little movie about me, as there are no surf edits featuring female Swedish surfers. Lofoten is blessed with such a beautiful nature and great waves that we chose to shoot it there”, Maria Petersson explains.  

Her usual place of residency is an island with the opposite climate from Northern Norway: Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands outside the coast of Africa. Except for the obvious differences in temperature, one specific thing separates the two surroundings.

“The biggest difference between Fuerteventura and Lofoten are the surfers. There are a lot more people in the water here, so you need to be more assertive to catch the waves.”

Watch the movie here:

Petersson has a lot of praise for the surfing conditions up north. 

“The best part of surfing in Lofoten is that the waves are world-class. The nature is magical, and there aren’t many other surfers in the water. Sometimes it feels unreal to sit in the water and look up at the great, snowy mountains while a massive eagle passes by or seals surface a couple of metres away. Totally unreal!” 

The word “unreal” easily describes the experience of winning the surfing contest Lofoten Masters last year – not least thanks to a couple of curious spectators who showed up unnanounced. 

“Bringing home my first victory was an amazing feeling, and my body was finished after that day. What made the contest even more fantastic was an unexpected visit from two orcas as I left the water. It was really cool watching them at such a close range.”

A frozen pastime

Lofoten

Lofoten.
Photo: Pontus Pålsson

Maria Petersson is particularly impressed with director Pontus Pålssons commitment throughout the period of filming. 

“We shot every surf for two months. I really admired Pontus’ patience as he stood on the beach in temperatures below zero, snow or icy wind.” 

A certain degree of secrecy is only natural when you’ve struggled to mount the perfect wave. 

“One day we went up and down mountains for hours in search of a remote beach, where we eventually found waves. It was a really cold mission that only gave us one wave for the movie. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal where it was”, Petersson jokingly says.

Scandinavian women are the toughest

Lofoten

Lofoten.
Photo: Pontus Pålsson

That the movie premieres on March 8 – the International Woman’s Day – is only appropriate, according to director Pontus Pålsson. 

“The Arctica” was first and foremost made to push the female side of surfing. There are a lot of girls ripping, particularly in Lofoten”, he says.  

Maria Petersson hopes more girls dive into it – quite literally. 

“The film is the first of its kind, but hopefully not the last. My hope is that we can inspire more female surfers to get out there.” 

She commends her female Nordic surf fellows for being unusually tough.  

“There are a lot of girls surfing in Scandinavia, and they’re all really hardcore compared to other female surfers around the world. Getting out there in degrees below zero and surfing icy cold waters can be truly challenging. I hope to see more female Scandinavian surfers getting attention from the media in the future”, she says to Visit Norway.

You can follow more surfing adventures at Pontus Pålsson and Maria Pettersons Instagram accounts.

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