Surf Alaska: Catching Waves and Goosebumps

Scott Dickerson grew up exploring the wild landscapes of Alaska, and today he shares his passion for adventure and exploration through photography. Specializing in surf, aerial, aviation and outdoor photography, Scott is also a licensed USCG captain, and he leads boat based surf adventures with Surf Alaska.


Just the idea of surfing in Alaska is enough to send chills down the spine. Sure, there are a lot of goosebumps involved in the pursuit, but they’re often the kind you get when experiencing something magical beyond words.

Imagine bobbing in the ocean with friends as the sun sets over a snow covered volcano. You wait for the next magical surge of energy from a far off storm to pick you up and send you gliding towards the rugged and wild coastline. That is what surfing in Alaska is all about.

Rugged Alaskan coastline

After first learning to surf in Alaska, I’ve had the good fortune of riding waves in plenty of other locations, including Hawaii, California, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. But it’s no contest: Alaska is my favorite.

Peering through the porthole to the wild beyond

It’s not so much the waves as it is the whole experience – the wilderness, exploration, and discovery.

An active cone volcano rising out of the ocean makes you feel like you’re on the edge of the world

The search for good waves takes us to wild places and puts us in harmony with the weather and the environment. The lack of roads around Alaska’s 34,000 miles of coastline means most of our trips require airplanes or boats. Whether or not we find waves on each trip makes for great adventure.

Exploring the Alaskan coastline aboard the retired fishing vessel M/V Milo

The weather in Alaska is extreme and the logistics daunting, but the rewards of catching that perfect wave more than make up for it.

Catching an Alaskan wave

We live by the expression “There’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s just bad gear.”

Staying warm on deck in KÜHL Skull Cap and Spyfire Hoody

Even on an Alaskan surf trip, it’s easy to keep your body comfortable with the right clothing, setting your mind free to enjoy the experience. Bring on the goose bumps.

Kühl Editor

At KÜHL, the passion remains to get outdoors and have fun. Our Born in the Mountains contributors share their love for the mountain culture with their stories, reflections and photographs.