Yes, it can be done – on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s Far East.
It’s that giant piece of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk
Be advised that a surf trip to Russia will require cold water wax, a thick wetsuit with booties and hood, helicopter, six wheel drive vehicle, and an AK-47 to ward off the occasional bear. On the plus side, you’ll be the only person in the water, a dream come true for those of us who grew up surfing the crowded breaks of SoCal.
I’ve been thinking about this for a few years since it involves two of my favorite topics: Russia and surfing. A while back I did a Google search on surfing in Russia, but didn’t come up with anything substantial. I even traveled all the way to the Caspian, and still, nothing. Surely with all that coastline, though, Russia has to have something surfable?
I recently came across this article from Surfer’s Village detailing a Rip Curl sponsored surf trip to Russia, in which pro surfers Tom Curren and Brian Toth found themselves in an old Soviet Mi-8 scouring the coast of Kamchatka for potential waves:
Curren, 40, who resides in Santa Barbara, California is considered by many to be the sport’s greatest ever performer, was joined by Toth, on this the most recent chapter in Rip Curl’s ‘The Search’ program, an ongoing series of expeditions to remote and uncharted coastal areas across the globe looking for perfect surfing waves. With the aid of helicopters, specialist six-wheel-drive vehicles and the latest wetsuit technology to allow high performance surfing in sea temperatures around 10° C, the expedition surveyed the coastlined surfing at a series of locations.
Tom Curren commented; “I didn’t actually see where we were going on the map until the day before we came over here and it’s definitely remote and I was really kind of nervous that it was going to be really, really, cold, of course it is pretty cold, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. We saw a volcano when we were camping at the first beach, that was pretty exciting I’ve never seen a volcano erupting before, it’s definitely rewarding to go to a new place that you don’t know anything about, and actually get good surf, even more interesting is to see surfing developed in places like this where there’s potential for a surfing culture to develop”.
Footage from the expedition was, of course, posted on YouTube:
(About one minute into the video)
Still, Russia’s entry on WannaSurf remains sparse. Maybe some local Russian surfers (are there any?) could provide some updates.
Entire photo gallery is here.
I would love to visit Kamchatka…not necessarily for the surfing (although that would be amazing), but I’ve heard it’s the most beautiful part of the country – active volcanoes, a rugged coastline, and lush forests teeming with wildlife. Yeah, Kamchatka’s definitely on my travel “to do” list, with or without the surfboard in tow.