Alaska is filled with hidden wonders. People flock to Alaska to kayak its fjords, hike its snow capped peaks or enjoy a cruise along glacial inlets. A lesser known activity however, is surfing Alaska’s coast lines.
We’ve provided a guide to the best locales in Alaska to surf, as well as tips on what to bring, how to maintain safety, and what time of year to go.
Getting to these places can be difficult and include bush planes, skiffs or ferries. It can be expensive. But with patience, careful budgeting and adventure as a motive, these Alaska surf spots are worth the epic trek and are world class.
Getting to Alaska:
It’s possible to get to Alaska on a massive road trip. This may minimize the expense of the trip, especially if you can fit your gear in a car or van. The ALCAN and Cassier highway are infamous for their beauty.
Alaska Airlines also offers relatively inexpensive trips to Anchorage, but keep in mind the expenses of sending gear.
When To Go:
The best time to surf in Alaska is August – September, when the water is warmest. Be aware that the temperature of the water at this time is still only around 56 degrees.
What To Bring:
Surfer.com recommends bringing a 5/4 inch suit, high quality rain gear, and synthetic layers. The choice to wear gloves and booties depends are optional but reccomended.
Cold water wax is also recommended, as opposed to warm-water wax, which can turn into “plastic” on you board in the cold water.
Where To Surf In Alaska:
1. The Aleutian Islands
There are 14 islands in the Aleutian Island Archipelago and 4 airports. The biggest swells in The Aleutian Islands are in summer and early fall. Parts of these islands are roadless, so surfers often rely on ATVs for travel around the island. Popular islands for surfing are Unalaska, Unimak Island and Atmak Island. There is a short documentary about surfing these islands called The Cradle of Storms.
Atmak Island surf spots: The Lagoons, Loran Point and City Beach.
Unalaska surf spots: Rainbow Point in Dutch Harbor.
This area is friendly to all surfing levels.
Access to these islands is possible through Alaska Airlines from Anchorage.
2. Kodiak Island
The most common places to surf on Kodiak Island is Fossil beach and Mill Bay. They are known to have large swells and are both accessible by road. You can book a direct flight to Kodiak Island from Anchorage.
3. Sitka Sound, Baranof Island
Sitka Sound is located on Barinof Island. You can get to Sitka on Alaska airlines from Seattle, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan. Delta Airlines offers flights to Sitka as well.
Sandy Beach is popular for surfers and only 4 miles from the airport. You’ll find orcas, sea lions, grizzlies and wolves while exploring the surf spots and other areas of the island.
Yakutat is known as “Surf City”. It is accessible by flight and ferry. Cannons Beach, Snappers, Sandys, Boilers, Point Carrew, Graveyards are popular surfing beaches. Icy Waves Surf Shop is located in the village of Yakutat. Yakutat has been named “one of the five best surf towns in America” by Outside Online.
Written by Emily Gallegos