YOW – Exploring Norway with Pacha Light

YOW – Exploring Norway with Pacha Light

“A place of balance with deep darkness following light. Intensities converging in every moment.”
Words: Pacha Light
Photography: Paula Ortega

I took off on 77 hours of train travel beginning in Hossegor, France- crossing borders and hauling my surfboard bag into countless trains, making sure I gave my biggest smile to train conductors with my abnormally shaped suitcase in tow. I met my good friend and talented photographer, Paula Ortega who agreed to jump with me into this last minute adventure.

We decided 2 days before arriving that a camper van would be our Norwegian home-on-wheels and made our way to Cabin Campers in Oslo. I luckily collected some hours of manual driving in a friend’s tiny little bumper car while in France to give me enough courage to rent a huge van… All that mustered courage disappeared when it was time to start our journey and I could see the serious panic in Paula’s eyes when I couldn’t get us out of the car park. A deep breath and reassurance got us moving into the twilight fog of Oslo.

As the hours ticked past and the fog shifted from black into grey into a bright white, we drove slowly through secluded villages with the famed red and white houses with roofs made of wild grasses stretching upwards, surrounded by mountains that seemed to open up and eat you.

I heard a Norwegian folklore about these very giants, that it was trolls that forgot about the dawn and froze into stone.

Passing misty cities of trolls, we rolled into the glacial plains of Hoddevika, Ervik and Stad to finally meet the sea. In the embrace of mountains, the landscape changes mood from ominous to clear and certain.

The roads here all seem to resemble grey spaghetti- curved and draped down a mountain almost by accident. It’s perfect for the surf skate, what a way to welcome the cold air!

I could tell the fog had settled into the road and I was sliding a little- all the more fun until an overcorrected forehand turn sent my GoPro into the gravel… Oh naauurrrr!

A church and graveyard is nestled in the dunes above the beach and we pay respects before our toes touch the cold sand. As we wade through the shallows, blue wave-faces peak and softly break in-front of us, simultaneously giving excitement and a brain freeze. Although we weren’t the luckiest with weather and wave size, it made us appreciate the quiet moment of a coloured sunrise- washing every drip of exhaustion off in the icy sea.

With the shortened hours of light creeping into winter, our morning surf disappeared into a midday session and before we knew it, we were watching the colours of the sunset. Excited to practice some more, I traced some laps around Paula on the YOW – laughing and making each other dizzy. We said hello to some farm dogs passing by and received the biggest smiles and cuddles- another gift of another day.

We got to learn about local community strength and the collection of ocean plastics that find their way to Hoddevik’s shore. Nordic Ocean Watch is a grassroots organisation that works throughout Norway’s unique coastline and holds a base at the Løa, a space of creation and finding a forever home to wandering pieces of fishing nets, soft-drink cans and rouge toothbrushes. Find out more about their work with Nordic Trash here:


It’s time to follow the rivers into the mountains and say our goodbyes to new friends and the mountain faces that watched over us. As painful as numb toes and chattering teeth, this sweet bewilderment always follows. A reminder of life and the small tests bringing us closer to this greater connection, greater purpose.

A surge of life energy with every pulse of sharp wind and chilling waves.

I channeled every piece of Wim Hof while finishing a few right handers, peeling onto a rock and seaweed floor in the small bay of Ervik. It was so wild to surf and be unusually focused on a clean pop up as well as timing the paddle back out- more than 3 duck dives meant a few cold moments nursing a sore face. There is a really fun left that breaks off an old shipwreck and although it wasn’t big enough to surf that day, we were entertained with an amazing carpark conversation of the legendary days full of great lefts and rights. We also found out the only way to get to the beach throughout winter is by skiing down the sand dunes, which freeze into skatepark-like ramps. It’s truly incredible to witness the process and dedication to surf such conditions, the relationship with the ocean is so unique and full of love.