River: Skafta (lower section).

Grid Reference: 63 deg 45′ N; 18 deg 17′ W.

Grade: IV with lots of flat.

Length: 7 km.

Date run: 3.07.91.

Weather conditions: Rain and fog.

River level: Moderate.

Significant portages: None.

Access arrangements

Take a right turn 10 km’s west of Kirkjubaerklaustur to Skal.


Either at Kirkjubaerklaustur (for lots more flat stuff) or about half way down where the Laki (signposted) road crosses the Skafta.


The river is very easy to start of with, a few drops between flat sections, nothing harder than grade III. The river opens up and becomes very flat and shallow for about 2 km. It then enters a canyon and things start to hot up. The start is marked by a largish drop easily run on the right hand side, this is followed by some big waves and an easily avoidable pourover before a river wide surfing wave 1-2 metres high. This is an excellent place to surf with large eddies on either side. A few more waves, then it is recommended to take the left channel around the island which is clearly a bit of canyon wall, the river opens out again before plunging into another canyon. This contains a few grade III drops before the bridge comes into sight. Between here and Kirkjubaerklaustur there is one other canyon with a few minor drops before a long flat slog.