by Ryan Gee
When I think of Iceland, all that comes to mind is Björk and an island full of ice. Well, I was proved wrong after a recent trip there. Some local told me Iceland was first discovered by Vikings, and at the same time, the Vikings also found Greenland. They fell in love with Iceland and decided to settle there, but they didn’t want to share it with others. So to discourage pilgrims from going there, they named it Iceland, hoping to sway others to the less hospitable country that is Greenland.
Bam Margera gave me a call in late August and told me he wanted to go to Iceland. I thought he was out of his mind. Then again, Bam is the type of person who likes to travel to obscure places. He wanted to take photos, along with some crazy skit filming. We’d always talked about how funny it’d be to travel to Iraq or Egypt and come back with skate pics, just to see if we could do it. But somehow he came up with Iceland, and I was totally down for it.
During September I was doing some odds and ends, and the trip to Iceland didn’t cross my mind until Bam told me we were leaving in a week. I suggested Kerry Getz and Tim O’Connor should go because they seemed interested. Plus, we could probably kick out a lot of pics within five days. As it turned out, Kerry had a pulled back and Tim was in NYC shooting modeling photos for an agency. Oh well. Bam had his brother and a few friends come to cause ruckus. Hopefully, there would be enough spots to shoot at in five days.
We flew out of Baltimore at 10:00 p.m. and arrived in Iceland around 4:00 a.m. on October 14. The airport was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by volcanic rock structures, along with wind chills up to ten degrees. It was so cold and rainy outside–what a shitty way to start out a trip. Our posse couldn’t check into the hotel until 2:00 p.m., so we rented two piece-of-shit Suzuki 4x4s and went off-roading to kill some time.
When driving outside of the airport, you think you’re on another planet. Serious! It’s all fields of black sulfuric lava rock. After a few hours of trashing the cars and me backing off a ten-foot wall, thanks to Bam’s brother’s friend Ryan, we headed to the Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon is a huge natural hot-spring lake that attracts thousands of tourists to lounge around all day in water temperatures above 100 degrees. This place was heaven. We swam for three hours, until we looked like a bunch of prunes.
Due to the rain, there wasn’t much to do that night. So Bam and I went on a spot search around Reykjavic. We found some good local spots with perfect marble stairs, bumps to small picnic tables, and a lot of Hubba Hideout-type ledges. Hopefully, tomorrow it won’t rain.
October 15 was yet another sad, rainy day. Bam was the navigator of our trip. For the past month he’d read a book about Iceland and he knew where every sightseeing place was. So we drove a few hours to check out some huge waterfalls and caves to venture through. After seeing about twenty waterfalls, Bam’s brother Jess rigged up a table, tore two legs off of it, and tied the table by the other two legs to the back of the van. Jess and Ryan flipped the table upside, and Bam would tow them at Mach speed, while they hung on. Bam would slam the brakes, and they’d flip over and get serious road rash. What a way to kill time with these guys. It was way too funny.
Mother Nature seemed to clear up and let things dry in Reykjavik that night. Bam and I managed to pull off a few photos, while being a bit distracted by the looks of beautiful Icelandic girls walking around. If you ever come out here, smuggle the girls back to the States. It’s worth it.
We woke up early on the sixteenth. Surprisingly, it was sunny out. We went and checked out a national park that had a lot of crevasses caused by earthquakes. Some were reeally deep and Bam felt tempted to jump over one that dropped down 40 feet. I was pretty scared for him when shooting this pic. But as always, he managed to pull it off. An hour away were some crazy geysers bursting into the air, so we took a long off-road journey to check it out.
On the way there, Bam’s brother hung out the top of the van going 120 kilometers an hour. It was pretty sketchy filming this because I had to hang out of the window. And by doing this, I lost my wallet and passport without knowing it. I realized they were gone after we saw the geysers–I almost had a nervous breakdown. But luck struck me on the way back to our hotel. My wallet and passport were sitting in the middle of the dirt road. Oh yeah!
During our drive back, Brandon D’Camillo, the guy who gets smacked around in the Landspeed video, made us stop a few times so he could try to catch some wild sheep. The sheep would always outrun him while he swung around a lasso. In the process, I wondered what in the hell we would do with the sheep if he caught one–who knows what goes through his mind. An hour later we were back in rainy Reykjavic.
October 17 was a misty day. So we spent most of our time hiking another mountain and beating up the rental van.
The next day we all got off to a late start, but I didn’t really care. Getting up at eight in the morning every day was killing me, so sleeping in paid off. Our squad decided to head off for the mall; I felt like I was in New Jersey again. Bam and I found a skate spot in front of the mall, and we proceeded to film and take photos on this long-ass ledge. Everything went good, minus the fact Bam almost got side swiped by a few Opal’s (Euro car)–but Dunn was watching for traffic. If it weren’t for him, Bam would have been roadkill.
Again we were back downtown eating some fine Subway hoagies. Right outside was the center square where all the skaters would meet up. Bam was out there skating with a bunch of locals. It was weird to think kids skated in Iceland. Not only that, some of them were really good. One local named Habby was busting switch backside tailslides on the picnic table with ease. Click. Click. Click. My camera was out and ready. I couldn’t miss this.
Habby was busting out like there was no tomorrow. There were also a bunch of others in the mix scrambling around with old shredded boards. As this was going on, a few little kids recognized Brandon from the Landspeed video. One kid was so amped that he started to jump on parked cars to impress us. The fun was soon over because some lady called up the police. I didn’t want to be around to see what happened, so I headed back to the hotel. On that note, the cops in Iceland don’t carry guns. They carry big-ass billy clubs to smack people with.
Sitting in a hotel watching the nature channel can get real boring. So we took it upon ourselves to take the rental van out on a rampage. We met up with our two Icelandic girl tour guides. They showed us all the hot spots downtown from Björk’s house to a bulldozed beach. I think they were intimidated by the way we drove. During the duration of the night, I managed to blow out a tire. And to top it all off, we got stuck in a field of mud. To make a long story short, it took all of us an hour to pull the van out. The two girls even helped us out, while getting their clothes all muddy. In America, you would never see a girl doing this. Viva las Icelandic girls!
Once again we woke up real early. It was our last day on this volcanic island. Our plane was leaving in a few hours, so Bam and I rushed to this one spot that looked like a Hubba Hideout wall. After twenty minutes we managed to get a few more pics before our dreaded plane ride back. I couldn’t wait to get back home where the weather was warm again. Oh yeah!