Snowboarder Rúnar Pétur from East Iceland on new Fjord Lines film

I’ve travelled to Iceland many times over the years and one part that I truly fell in love with was the east. I last visited there in March 2015, during a solar eclipse, and the party I was travelling with were taken up onto a glacier by superjeep where the views were just incredible. We discovered so many beautiful locations that have stuck with me ever since.

This untouched paradise became the setting for recently released snowboarding documentary film Fjord Lines. This year snowboarder Rúnar Pétur returned to his hometown, the fishing village of Neskaupstaður, where he wanted to fulfil a childhood dream by creating local lines on the slopes and fjords. Adventure photographer and filmmaker Víðir Björnsson has been following Runar around Iceland in recent years and together they created Volcano Lines, released early 2020, and following this in November this year Fjord Lines was released. We speak to Runar to hear more about filming this latest feature and his favourite places in East Iceland.

Fjörd Lines is due to premier on the 17th December – how does it feel to finally release the movie and share it?

We can’t wait to get the movie out there its been such a long run and way more work than we thought. but we already have been getting really good feedback for the movie so we are stoked to show people what we have been up to in the last months and hope we can get everyone pumped for the upcoming winter.

For those that may not be aware of it – what is the documentary about?

I wouldn’t say it is really a documentary but more that we wanted to let the camera and snowboarding talk for itself.. and everything around our lifestyle.

Whereabouts in East Iceland did you grow up and how did it feel to return there after some time out travelling?

I am born and raised in Neskaupstaður, probably the town furthest east of Iceland you can find.

After spending the last few seasons in the Alps it’s always the mountains back home I wanted to come back for (as well as the nature) it is so beautiful and remote here. I feel like you appreciate Iceland way more when you have spent some time away. Instead of looking at it every day haha.

The documentary was filmed during one of Iceland’s harshest winters, which is saying a lot! What fuelled both you and the crew to keep persisting in completing the film?

Well I think we all know from our crew the big storms are going to bring us some snow and good waves haha. We had to wait out a few days to get the right weather and it’s always so worth it. One time we really got desperate and we really wanted to get some powder shots so we went out in a 30 mph storm and found some good snow to play with around the town.

How did your and Vidir’s paths cross? When did the idea of Fjord Lines begin to take shape?

I think it was 3 years ago and I had contacted Víðir through Instagram and asked if he would be down to come east to film some snowboarding stuff and next thing I know he was on a plane to the east fjords. I think we kind of share the same passion for me its snowboarding and for him its surf so we have been challenging each other snowboarding and surfing – and sharing some great memories together whilst we do it.

I had this idea for a long time now and that was to film the lines close to my hometown lines and mountains that I have been looking at for years. It has always been our idea to capture this beautiful nature with snowboarding as well as showing the terrain that the east fjords offer (which is basically in my backyard)!

We know East Iceland is quite a hidden gem in the country – where are some of your other favourite places to visit there when you are not conquering it’s mountains?

I think Borgarfjörur in the north east is really beautiful and Stórurð in Doormountains is definitely my favourite spot. Stuðlagil is also such a unique place. It’s hard to get bored here if you think like a tourist haha. 

What have you been listening to, reading, or watching recently – any recommendations?

I watched David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet the other day and I think everyone should do the same if they haven’t seen it – that is on Netflix.

I don’t read much but I’ve been listening to Tame Impala, Stick Figure, Vök, RY X, Milky Chance, Pink Floyd, all kind of music actually!

Finally, what is your tip of the day?

þetta reddast – that means everything it’s gonna be fine!

Interview by Alex Minnis

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