Best Surfing in Alaska

Best surfing in AlaskaI’ve always associated Alaska with winter, snow and being very cold.  Although I do know Alaska has its summer months, and some days have 20 plus hours of daylight.  Based on these preconceived notions, I personally did not think Alaskans surfed but I was mistaken.  Like many places in the World, Alaska also has surfers but what is the best surfing in Alaska?

I will delve into this further and try to answer the following questions:

  • What gear is needed?
  • What are the places to surf?
  • What are the best times of the year to surf?
  • How do you get to these surf spots?
  • What types of waves can I expect to surf?

What gear do you need?

Alaska is cold, but of course that is a relative term, what I consider cold (being from Hawaii) and what an Alaskan considers cold it a whole different thing.  Based on what I’ve read, the water in Alaska during the summer months is about 60° Fahrenheit, for me that is cold.

Whether you consider 60° Fahrenheit cold or not, if you intend to surf in Alaska you’ll definitely need a wetsuit, 6 mm in thickness to be on the safe side, and you should also have gloves, a hood and booties.  You don’t want to freeze any portion of your body, so err on the side of caution.  Of course, don’t forget your surfboard or your surfboard wax and make sure your wax is for cold temperatures.

Where to surf?

Best surfing in AlaskaIf you surf in Alaska, you won’t have to worry about a crowded line up due to its remoteness.  Yakutat, Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands are some of the places you can surf in Alaska.  Alaska has surf spots such as:  Pasagshak Beach, Bear Glacier on the Kenai, Cannons Beach, Cannons Beach, Snappers, Sandys, Boilers, Point Carrew, Graveyards, just to name a few.

Yakutat borders the Gulf of Alaska to the west.  Kodiak Island is 3,670 square miles and more than 100 miles long is Alaska’s largest island and the second-largest island in the United States.  The Aleutian Islands are located in the Southwest portion of Alaska.

Some say that some of the best surfing in Alaska is located in Yakutat, others, that it can be located in more remote locations.  Whatever you choose, you’ll need help locating these spots, and it is best if you consult the locals.

Remember, that no matter where you intend to surf in the World, you should always follow the rules to surfing (click here to read my post on “The Rules to Surfing”).

What are the best times of the year to surf?

According to Surf Alaska, the best times of the year to surf Alaska are: Spring and Fall because it has reliable surf, reasonable weather and plenty of daylight.  What surfer doesn’t want reliable surf, reasonable weather and plenty of daylight, I know that’s what I would look for.

Mid-May to Mid-September are generally considered the summer months for Alaska.  During these months, the days are longer and it rains more often than the lower 48 states as well as Hawaii.

How do I get to these surf spots?

Best surfing in AlaskaLike any other place, Alaska has some surf spots that can be reached by car, but Alaska is also the largest state in the United States and most of this state is not easily accessible.  Some of the surf spots in Alaska will require that you get there by boat or plane, which isn’t different from other remote surf spots located around the World.

Like any other large body of land with a large costal region, Alaska has hundreds of surf spots.  It is best that you consult your locals to get information about surf spots and how to travel to those locations, you may also wish to know if you need to worry about the fauna in that area.  A good idea would be to sign up for an Alaskan surf trip.

What types of waves do they have?

Alaska has beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks, and all those types of waves those sort of breaks generate (click here to read my post “Types of Waves to Surf”).  Alaska seems to be like any other place with waves, the main exception being, that it is generally colder than the other popular and well-known surf spots.

In Conclusion

Make sure you pack your wetsuit, gloves, a hood and booties if you intend to surf in Alaska.  There are many surf spots in Alaska, and it is best if you consult the locals on where these spots are located as well as how to travel to these areas.

Spring and Fall, according to Surf Alaska, seem to be the best times of the year to surf in Alaska.  Alaska has beach breaks, point breaks and reef breaks, and also has the types of waves that those types of breaks generate.  The best surfing in Alaska seems to be a matter of personal preference, some claiming that Yakutat is the spot while other say it is located in more remote areas.

Check out my post: “Can you surf a tsunami?”

Thanks for dropping in and if you should have any comments or questions, please post it in the comments section of this page.

4 thoughts on “Best Surfing in Alaska

  1. I would have never thought that you could surf in Alaska. The decision was not based on the beaches and waves but the weather conditions. Like you, I am from a warmer climate (Australia) and the idea of surfing in their waters brought shivers down my spine. And thanks for the advice on when to go as the Alaskan spring falls in the Australian Autumn

    • Hi Amberlee, I’m from Hawaii so I know what you mean about a warmer climate. I don’t think I’d be a regular surfer in Alaska but it would be definitely something I would like to try at least once.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  2. Hi Stuart,

    As usual, your article is so pleasant and helpful, it’s always a pleasure to read it!
    Surfing in Alaska must be a big challenge, at least for me as it is freezing over there.
    I have been in Alaska few times and really enjoyed the trip, but I personally suffer from the cold so I never thought of doing any water’s activities. However, I suppose that you warm up, especially while surfing,
    I should try once with the right equipment:)
    Thank you for this excellent article!

    • Hi Daniella, I’m also someone who’s not a fan of the cold, but like you, I’d like to try surfing Alaska at least once.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

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