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Cold-Water Surfing With Canadian Surfer Logan Landry

There is something about surfing in Canada that is magical. If you’re brave enough to go out there when it’s freezing with snow all around you, you just know that you’re committed to surfing on a whole different level than if you were in the tropics.

Since the beginning of Nouvelle Vague, we’ve asked us a couple of times to write about cold-water surfing. Maybe people are really into cold water, or maybe they think we will end up writing about Iceland, not Canada. Still exotic, even if it’s not your typical exotic.

In order to explore the topic of cold-water surfing in Canadian appropriately, we’ve decided to ask a few questions to the Canadian pro-surfer, Logan Landry. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Logan knows everything about thick wetsuit, warm coffee and the commitment it requires to surf the east coast of Canada.

Throughout our interview, we got to discuss the Nova Scotia’s surfing scene, the projects he is currently working on and his fascination for North Korea.

Photo: Ashley Brown

When we say, “Cold Water Surfing”, we automatically think about Iceland as it is the new trendy destination. Is the surf over there similar to Nova Scotia?

I’ve been going to Iceland almost every year since I was 18 and it’s different. It’s very similar to Nova Scotia in a way, like, the waves head home and two days after they are heading to Iceland. It’s actually colder in Canada. Nova Scotia is one of the coldest places in the world where you can go surfing. The waves at home are some of the best. It’s my favourite place in the world to surf and I’ve been to lots of places. We get pretty big winter swells, but it can also be flat for two weeks. You just got to be on it and know what’s up.

When you say to people that you surf in Canada, what’s people’s reaction?

A couple years ago, I would say Nova Scotia and people would ask me which country is that. After that, they are really confused between the east coast and the West Coast. Since surfing is more growing in Canada, we have a little bit more knowledge about it now, it’s not that bad anymore. Now, they will generally know where I am from and think it’s cool. The first thing they say would be “it’s freezing there”, but really, it’s only during the winter time it gets real cold.

How did you find out about surfing—it’s not like your family was really into it, right?

I don’t know, it seems something it looks fun to do! I started young, I was 11 years old and I just kept doing it. The more I got it, the more I liked it. The more I surfed home, the more I realized how good it was. I then started travelling and really realized how good it was. So, it’s a pretty special place to be from for sure.

Photo: Mike Bromley

How did it happen? Did you just wake up one morning and asked your parents if you could learn how to surf?

Well, I’ve always been around the beach culture because I have a lot of relatives in the States, so I’ve always been around surfing and stuff like that. I tried and really enjoyed it. When you first start surfing, you don’t want to be a pro. You just start because it’s a lot of fun. If I wasn’t a pro surfer, I would still surf every day.

That’s great! Are you still doing contests at the moment?

I don’t really do contests, I do magazines feature, trips, videos and cold-water inspiration kind of stuff. I mean, there are one hundred thousand surfers in the world, and they all want to do contests. There are a lot of surfers that are really good at surfing and they are all doing the same thing. Being where I am from, we don’t have the contest structures that they have in the States, so when I go to a contest I just spasm out and get out losing.

It seems really stressful as well, which can take away the freedom you have when surfing.

It’s 20 minutes to try to get two waves, it’s stressful and as I said, there is a bunch of kids out there that has been doing contests their whole life. I just stick to my own thing and do cold water stuff, because not that many people like the real cold stuff.

They are generally afraid of the cold.  

Yea, they want to go to Indonesia or Hawaii. I’m like “nah, I rather go somewhere cold where there is nobody”.

As you are not doing contests, what are you currently working on?

I’ve got a couple trips I want to go up north, where nobody’s been yet. In the fall, I am going to Europe to finish filming, so it would be France and Iceland. We want to finish filming for the rest of the movie that will premiere in the spring.

Cool, so what would be the movie about? Cold water?

It’s all North Atlantic spots. So far, we’ve filmed in Iceland, Nova Scotia and we will continue filming in Nova Scotia, then France, Iceland and Norway.

Photo: Ashley Brown

Who is a part of the team?

It’s filmed by Mike Bromley and Ryan Meichtry. Ryan is from here and he’s a really talented filmmaker. Mike is one of my best friends from home and he is a filmmaker as well. He put out a short film last year and he won the “Best New Filmmaker” at the San Diego Film Festivals. So far, the film is going really well, it has been a lot of work. It’s just that when you deal with the North Atlantic and these crazy cold spots, your surfing is dependent on so many things and it’s a struggle. We were in Iceland for over a month and we were just eating our heads, we just drove, I think 2000 km, the whole time we were there. We were trying to find good conditions, but we got stuck with really bad winds. We were having a meltdown and there was a lot of frustration too, because when you try to do a movie now, it has to be high performance. You are filming, but it rains, and it rains so hard that you have to film at the back of the RV. It was bad, but I am sure the end product will be good!

Are you planning to move eventually as your girlfriend is from Sweden?

No, I am not moving! I am working on buying a piece of land in Nova Scotia. I travelled a bit, but once I have a home, I would probably travel a maximum of two weeks at the time.

Any place you want to go surfing?

I want to go to North Korea. North Korea is kind of a weird spot and it’s expensive, but I would like to go. After Europe, I will go home for a bit and then I will go to Iceland for hunting. My Icelandic buddy, that big Iceland guy, called and offered me to go hunting for Red Deer. Their accent is so strong! One of my good friends is the first Iceland sponsored surfers and yea, their accent is so strong. It just sounds like a really deep Viking voice, it’s amazing.

Haha, it seems rad. Is there a lot of surfers in Iceland?

I think there is only thirty surfers in the whole country. It’s just because wetsuits have gotten so good. 

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