Working in what many would describe (or complain) as arctic temperatures, Chris manages to show the beauty, fearlessness and joy of surfing in cold waters.
He has been kind enough to offer Passion Passport readers an opportunity to win his newest book, Distant Shores. Simply comment on this blog post with a fond memory of cold weather before Monday, March 10th at 11:59pm PST and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book.
Can you describe the feeling of jumping into freezing cold water when you first arrive to a new location?
There’s definitely a feeling of anticipation when you’re dealing with cold water. You know what is in store mentally, but your body is never prepared to handle the shock. The cold water awakens your senses and makes you aware of the danger. When you first jump, blood rushes to your extremities and after getting out it rushes to your heart. You have to be prepared to get warm quickly so that your body doesn’t shut down.
What have you learned from spending time in remote locations in chilly temperatures?
The cold really makes you appreciate the simple things cause it sure complicates everything. You need more gear, better preparation, and a stronger will. The further I get away from my comfort zone, the better my photo are, that is when I’m really going to have meaningful experiences.
What drives you to visit hard-to-access locations?
Why not share a story about some crazy off-the-beaten-path places that most people wouldn’t have the chance to go to? I want to tell stories in different locations and share the imagery in an effort to inspire my viewers to dream and visit these locations, too. There is this feeling you get when visit a place for the first time that is pure indescribable wonder.
Could you describe the sensations you try to be aware of when shooting in very cold water?
At times it was hell. You accept an element of danger before you get to the beach. In general, the colder the climate the greater chance there is of something going wrong. It feels dangerous but it also is good to scare yourself a little bit.
Could you see yourself living in a cold climate? Or after two weeks of cold, are you thrilled to be back in California?
I’ve thought about living in Iceland before because I am drawn back to it time and time again. There is something about the place that suits me from the dramatic landscape to the surf and the people. On the flipside, I’m always thrilled to come back home to California. It’s not necessarily the break from the cold that I’m seeking but the comforts of home and being back with my family.
Words and photos: Chris Burkard