February’s cold snap leaves many with a salty numbness as we sit around lamenting the season’s length and send up lofty prayers for an early spring. As we yearn for warmer weather this March, it’s easy to forgo the beauty that remains in the ice and snow. A growing surf community has found fortune in such conditions, using advancements in gear to brave the icy barrels that live offshore.
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Patrick Blades’ “Stray”, which won first place in “The Shorties” category at the 2013 London Surf/Film Festival, is a raw representation of the relationship between surfer and surf within some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. The film captures Gabe Davies, Luke Palmer and Ross Hargreaves (among others) bearing the elements of winter to catch waves on the coastlines of Iceland and the UK. This was a personal project for Blades, who masterfully mixed an arrangement of jarring landscapes, near-frozen waves and visuals of the surrounding culture to foster a dark and ambient mood throughout the short. Pulsed by the lo-fi music of Burial, this film captures a unique presence on screen and new nuances appear with each viewing.