Chris Burkard has always inspired us with his talent for sharing visions in his work. His current vision scopes with the topic of parenthood to which anyone can relate in a personal way. As surfing connects people and unfamiliar places with each other, it often connects families as well. Would it be in the form of traditions, a shared lifestyle or simply in spending time together, far off from the daily drive of life.

Unnu And Elli
Elli Thor and his daughter, Unnúr atop an oceanside volcanic arch in Iceland. After walking away from kayaking, a newfound passion for surfing and the birth of his daughter gave Elli a new perspective worth living for.


When did you met Elli and Unnur?

I had met Elli maybe six or seven years ago on a surf trip to Iceland. I was enthralled by his commitment to surfing in these super cold-water places. We became really close friends and every trip that I would go there, I would start to realize that it’s really the locals that make the experience so rich and rewarding. What started as a relationship based around photography and surfing transitioned overtime just to a friendship, and I began to learn more about his personal life. Both of us being fathers, naturally we talked a lot about our kids and over the years throughout all my trips to Iceland I had the chance to meet and get to know Unnur.

How did the idea for this project evolve?

Through that friendship, things evolved. One day, he told me his story about his childhood, this story about how he almost died and how that changed his trajectory, and how he struggles with that as a dad. My wheels were turning with empathy, but also from a storytelling perspective. That was the catalyst for this project. I realized that these are things that a lot of people deal with – balancing risk and reward, and the sacrifices that come with something like having a kid.

Blue 2021 - Acid - Artikle Banner

Growing up in a single parent home I watched my own mom balance the risks of raising me in a way that would allow me to carve my own path while not passing on an inherent fear of the unknown, and as a father myself now I deal with this delicate balance as well. Often as a director you make a film about the most important things going on in your life through someone else’s eyes. For me the story of Elli Thor raising his daughter as a single parent is something near and dear to me and that's how the project came to be.


Unnar Elli

Elli Thor is an Icelandic photographer, surfer, and former kayaker. A decade ago, Elli nearly drowned under a waterfall while kayaking a challenging Icelandic river. The near-death experience became a catalyst for personal growth and his professional career. After walking away from kayaking, a newfound passion for surfing and the birth of his daughter Unnur gave him a new perspective worth living for.


Chirs has been featured in our Yearbook 2019 with an article about his Road to Inspiration. You can find the full article online or in timeless, printed version.




Chris Burkard

Headshot by Ben Moon