Sitka Surfing

About Sitka

Glaciers have created much of Alaska's southern coastline of large bays, inlets, and prominent fjords, while the high altitude mountains of the Alaska Range skirt this part of the coastline, often plunging directly into the Pacific Ocean. Located about 95mi (150km) from Juneau on the seaward edge of Alaska's southeast panhandle, Sitka is one of Alaska's oldest and most historic towns, having been home to Native Alaskans, Russian fur traders, and a U.S. military garrison before becoming the capital of Alaska in the mid 19th century. According to Charlie Skultka, the first surfboard landed in Sitka in the '80s, carried by a warm offshoot of the North Pacific Current and may have travelled all the way from Japan. Surfer Mag sent a team in 1993 and the Dave Parmenter's cover story heralded Sitka as 'The Land Duke Forgot'. However, the largest surfing community in Alaska (about 30 surfers) is now located in the remote town of Yakutat (pop. 800), on the Gulf of Alaska midway between Anchorage and Juneau, regularly surfing good beachbreaks and a quality left on big swells.

Pros

  • Variety of quality spots

  • Empty, wilderness line-ups

  • Reasonable water temps

  • Mt Edgecumbe backdrop

  • Great salmon & halibut fishing

Cons

  • Cold, inconsistent surf

  • Loads of rain

  • Changeable winds

  • Remote, difficult access

  • Expensive

Surf Spots