I’ve never really felt at ease on the sea, and I suck at most sports, especially if such activities can be accompanied by the word “extreme”. In this mindset it’s hard to try and explain why I decided to pay to download a surfing documentary, with paragliding and off-piste snowboarding casually thrown to make me understand even better how lame I am.
But the truth is that Nordfor sola is staggeringly beautiful, and I for once struggle to think how anyone else could possibly disagree. Even those scarred for life by the Beach Boys and hating surf with a passion.
With this out of the way, let’s talk about the film itself. It’s a short documentary, done with skill by two young Norwegian film makers, Inge Wegge and Jørn Nyseth Ranum, who – in a nutshell – spend nine months basically surfing.
If I was to stop here I wouldn’t be doing the film any justice, because this isn’t your classic surfing documentary (you know the kind, minute upon minute of sun, ripped bodies, rock music, beach parties, GoPro galore and the occasional wound to show that the guys are badass). For a starter, Inge and Jørn haven’t gotten down to Hawaii, they’re in Norway. And it isn’t summer either (as the title says, they are north of the sun, i.e. in the Arctic night, for quite a bit of time). And they’re literally in the middle of friggin’ nowhere, in a secluded bay hours on foot from the nearest village, farm or outpost of civilization.
And this is where it gets better. The guys decide to spend the whole winter there, north of the Arctic circle, in this bay at the receiving end of the Atlantic storms, living into a hut that they built out of driftwood and any odd item that they found washed on the surf, without electricity or running water, eating mostly out-of-date food that they can get for free in supermarkets and grocery stores. Their project is to live out there, surfing and cleaning up the beach of every remnant of human activity that arrives from the sea, for nine months.
This documentary is a short one at some 45 minutes, but it’s so rich on so many different levels – introspection, endurance, sports, environmental consciousness, friendship, nature – that it’s one to be watched many times again. Honestly, it’s a gem.