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Our Smurf

8 Jan

Sadly, in my three and a half years as Editor of, I have had to write a handful of obituaries. Never, did I think that one day so soon, it would be for one of my closest friends…

Our Smurf passed away on Friday 4th January at 12 Noon, Lunchtime.

As sad and upsetting as it always is to lose someone who brought so much joy and laughter to your life, I will not write with sadness. I am writing personally to you all to remember all of the happiness, the laughs, the funny meetings and moments. The unique quality, that only our Smurf himself brought into the lives of each and every single person he met here on Koh Phangan. The place that, in his heart, was his home.

Smurfy was born on January 20, 1981 in Iceland and named Trausti Þrastarson, however, we all know him by the name of ‘Smurf’ which was given to him by his family I believe, to begin with, due to his cute and smaller build and also as told by himself: 

"It’s a very long story, but the short is that when I was young and would talk on the phone I apparently sounded like a smurf and it stuck, I’m more likely to respond to Smurf than my real name".

Smurf fully embraced the name, even regularly dying his hair blue which for a lot of the time was cut in a mohican.

He was a funny soul that you could not miss and he would also not miss you, often striking up conversation with strangers who would soon become friends.

Before discovering Koh Phangan Smurf moved to and lived in Tenerife, Spain, in recent years his regular pattern would be to spend 6 months of the year there and 6 months of the year here on our magical island.

He was well known for his love of photography and subjects to do with nature, you can read more about this in his article.

In recent years he became the official photographer for well known Art Company and collective here on Phangan ‘Star Lab Industries’ after he befriended Christopher Thomas, the founder, and myself, whilst we were painting murals, 4 years ago, at what was then ‘Hard Road Hostel’ now known as ‘Phangan Arena’.

I had only been on Koh Phangan for a few weeks, Smurfy was my first new friend and he made sure that he would become unforgettable and invaluable to the Star Lab Crew, as a creative member, but most importantly as a friend.

Outside of his photography work, our Smurf enjoyed a simple life whilst on Koh Phangan, as long as he had a hammock and some music he was happy.

He even coined the phrase ‘Hammock Yoga’ a few years ago to describe what quite a few people here could also easily relate to as a way of life on the island.

He was quite the character and had many genuine Thai friends as well including Big Boss from Thong Sala and Papa Sin from Thong Nai Pan whom he rented a house from for a while. Whilst there he would clamber up rocks, during even the craziest storms, to go get that amazing photo of lightning and in the daytime, after waking early in the morning and returning from his coffee at his chosen spot in Thong Sala, he would be able to just sit and relax amongst the nature of the North- East.

Ever see a small guy on a big-ish bike with blue lights on wearing a red helmet? That was him…

During his last two years of visiting the island, Smurf moved closer to his Phangan family and rented houses in the same neighborhood as the Star Lab Industries team, literally at one point moving ‘next door’.

He shared the area with two other of his closest friends Andy Newman and Robin Hogarth and this colourful trio would often be up to mischief and adventure around the island or spending time ‘geeking out’ at home with the rest of the crew, possibly around a fire in the shared garden.

In May 2018 Smurf came to Koh Phangan for what would be, his last time.

He was already un-well but he needed to be on his beloved island and see his Phangan family. He wanted to share his story and so we made this video.

Since his last visit, our dear Smurf has been in Iceland with his Family where he has continued to be strong and always look on the bright side of life despite what this life brought to him.

We all, his friends from Koh Phangan, the Star Lab Team and everyone at have remained in close contact during this time, allowing space and ears for Smurf to tell his story and sending him loving words of support, things to laugh at, photos, funny things and anything we thought may help even though being far away.

Smurfy’s Family told us that he was always talking about Koh Phangan and the people here. In his heart, this was his home and you all were his Family. Even in his last days, although not physically, I think he was here.

On behalf of, Star Lab Industries and all of his friends here on the island, our thoughts and love go out to the Family of Smurf during this extremely sad time.

I’ll leave you to remember Smurf’s voice, that distinctive cute tone with his Icelandic accent, always ready to talk about anything, obscure, intelligent, artistic or just plain silly. I’ve heard him tell me he’s okay, don’t be sad, remember the joy and the memories and laugh with him.

Well, we’ll all be smiling and laughing for a long time our dear Smurf, every time we think of you, which will be a lot.

With Love
Emma xx


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