Traveling to Hoddevik is truly an experience and visiting this incredibly beautiful Norwegian bay wedged in between two big mountains is pure bliss every time. Coming here means a closer connection to both elements and nature. Looking at the mountains that rise out of the water, enclosing the bay fills me with emotions such as happiness but also a bit of melancholy.
Hoddevik has been looking like this for thousands of years and will still look the same in a thousand more when all I know is long gone. It’s both fascinating and sometimes a bit scary to be in a place with harsh weather conditions such as these. Conditions that can change in an instance and give you a taste of all seasons at once.
However, it doesn’t matter how amazing this place is, Hoddevik wouldn’t be the same for me if it wasn’t filled with all these interesting people with all their stories. For me it’s these people that make Hoddevik what it is; a place of beauty, warmth and friends for life.
This is Fred and Elena. For some people, surfing in cold water is unthinkable. In Elena and Fred’s case it is absolutely the best. Elena loves surfing and the sea and Fred is a skier at heart. ”There is something completely unbeatable with cold water surfing. To jump into a wetsuit and face the cold sea. For «nordbor» like us it is a luxury to surf without gloves and hood like we could do this time, but soon it will be too cold”.
Fred is amazing. A charming person with a personality that goes all in on life. One part of him loves to read books while sipping on a good cup of coffee while another part is like the Energizer Bunny on Red Bull. He told me that sometimes in the water when he gets bored waiting for waves, he pretends to be an astronaut slowly drifting weightless into space. Luckily for him, he always seems to find his way back to safety.
This is Maja. The first time she visited Hoddevik was with a bunch of guys back in 2012 or so. She can’t really remember, but it’s been a few times since then (7-8 times).
It’s hard not going back although the 13-14 hour drive is a total pain every time. One of the worst was that time when she drove alone in the middle of the night with no company in the car but her dog.
She’s been staying here at all the available hostels, in tents a few times and even sleeping in the car. She told me about that time a couple of years back when the rest of the surfers had left and she was completely alone in the whole bay.
All of a sudden this seal pops up from nowhere (like they usually do) to check her out. At first she thought it was cute and all that until she started thinking about its sharp teeth. Luckily they’re still friends!
This is Andreas. He’s Norwegian and because of that, we sometimes have slight problems understanding each other. I think he said he works with trains, but I’m sure that’s completely wrong. It might have been something completely different. He’s a very fun guy to hang out with and we talked a lot about the music festival (Kistefestivalen) that he and his brothers arrange every summer in Telemark, Norway.
We also took a lot of pictures. He’s also one of the best models I have ever shot with although he really didn’t have any experience modeling.
He recently started surfing and during this trip to Hoddevik he made big progress.
One of the subjects discussed between him and Fred was the 40 feet boat that they are planning to get and where to put it.
This is Elena. Elena is the Russian girl who came to Sweden and moved to Norway. I love to hang out with her and her boyfriend Fred since it usually means that we will end up doing spontaneous, outdoor stuff and crazy things.
A few years back, we decided to hang out halfway between Oslo and Gothenburg. We got there by car, Elena and Fred got there by kayak.
She’s a total sweetheart and a boss, keeping us all grounded but most importantly, Fred, when he’s drifting off too far.
Elena has been surfing in France, Lofoten, Galicia, Portugal, Morocco and The Philippines but I truly believe that Hoddevik is the place that’s closest to her heart. It’s both her backyard as well as a reminder of how she spent her younger years at the barren plains in the north of Sweden. One odd thing is that most of the time she gets bruised up in her face when she surfs.
This is Anna-Stina. She is one of the exiled swedes in Norway.
It’s odd that someone who’s this crazy about the mountains and the sea grew up on a farm in the flattest area in Sweden, far from places like this. Maybe that’s the reason she’s living here working at a surf camp.
Whenever she leaves Hoddevik to work in Bali or some other warm place it usually ends with her coming back here where she can surf, hike and ski. I really admire Anna-Stina, always doing what her heart tells her to do.
Among her interests are also knitting and drinking a lot of tea. One time she promised to knit a pair of beer mittens for Fred. He’s still waiting for them
This is Rickard. He just moved back to Malmö, Sweden and was supposed to unpack all the boxes and look for a job.
He told me he got the call about going to Hoddevik and the same morning they left. ”Do you want to come with us on a surf and fishing adventure in Norway?”
His boxes are still unpacked.
Rickard likes to take photos too, but not with digital cameras. He’s into snapping photos on analogue film but since it’s quite expensive to develop the films it doesn’t happen that often.
Rickard’s tip is one cup of coffee every morning. If you’re sleep deprived because of being in a tent during a storm, three might be enough.
This is Malin. Driving through Norway to Hoddevik widens Malin’s perspective and gives her a feeling of freedom.
”Connecting and grounding to our earth by being fully present in the nature, clears my head and brings me back in to my body”.
During summertime she’s running her own business back in Sweden where she’s got a tiny juice and yoga bar on wheels in a park. I also believe that she’s into traveling the rest of the year.
Sharing waves and laughs in epic scenery together with friends always puts a big smile on her face, she says. I believe her. Every time I saw Malin she had the biggest smile ever.
This is Gustaf. He is a good friend that always make me laugh.
I don’t know anyone else that knows as many movie and tv show one-liners as he does. There’s always a good quote ready to be fired away when he’s around.
This was his third trip to Hoddevik. He says ”It’s as magical as it was the first time. It’s like you enter a fairytale land with the mountains running straight into the big blue bay. Sitting in the lineup here is as close to the elements you can get. Totally worth the loooooong drive”.
After surfing, eating and laughing lots with the most awesome friends he’s now ready and warmed up for the next stop; Hossegor, France.
This is Wick. A few years ago I heard people talk about a friendly guy called Wick that they met in Bali. Today he lives in Sweden. I don’t know why he moved there really, but I’m sure it’s not because of the weather.
He told me that they planned this trip to Hoddevik all summer. After his first visit last year he was itching to come back. Fishing, surfing, 6/4 and booties, mountains and fjords — almost like his home in Bali. ”In two hours we caught 20 kg fish – saithe, pollack and mackerel. Do you want a fish burger?”
This is Beate. She is probably the most patriotic Norwegian jente living in Sweden. She’ll jump on every opportunity to go home to Norway.
Surfing, high mountains and good friends makes it worth the 14 hour drive from the small, Swedish coastal town of Varberg. She a very sweet girl that loves to show people the beauty of her beloved Norway.
In her arms she’s holding what was left of her tent after a stormy night.
This is Ole. He is one of these cool looking guys you run into in the street and you just have to take their picture.
The difference about Hoddevik from places like Oslo and Gothenburg is that in Hoddevik there’s only one road, and if you’re on it, you’re bound to meet whomever’s on the road. This time it was Ole who’s originally from Kongsberg but now is living here, working at one of the camps.
He’s not only a good surfer but also a sick skateboarder. If you’re visiting the area and are walking down to the beach you’re bound to be passed by Ole on his skateboard, sliding and having fun. He’s pretty easy to spot. Just keep your eyes open for the best hair in Hoddevik.
This is Marius. I met Marius with Ole when they where heading down to the beach on their skateboards.
He’s one of the few local born surfers around here and at an age of 17 he’s a very promising talent, starting to make a name for himself in different competitions as well as being a team rider for a local surf shop— That after only four years of surfing.
I guess it’s no surprise since he started out with downhill longboarding and if you’ve seen the roads around here, you know it can be a quite sketchy task to shred these hills. I’ve also heard rumors of him being a pretty good photographer.
This is Shrimpy and Maja. Shrimpy’s a Jack Russell terrier. She’s not really into surfing that much, and frankly, if the weather isn’t good, she won’t leave bed.
However, she’s the designated shotgun rider in the car, loves traveling and to hang out with all these people unless they have dogs. Other dogs really piss her off! I guess that’s because she believes she’s a human!
Apart from traveling, she’s really into chewing on sticks and playing tug of war with any piece of rope that she can find.
All photography and words by Mattias Diesel Näslund. Follow Mattias on Instagram