Presented by Snapped
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No matter the season, Alaska is a sporting state.
Miles of groomed trails means world-class cross-country skiing in Anchorage, and fresh powder in Girdwood draws throngs of people to the mountainside. Further down the highway, Turnagain Pass provides the perfect haven for snowmachiners and snowshoers alike, and Alaskans around the state enjoy everything from dog sledding to ice-skating.
And sometimes, the conditions are perfect for a different kind of sport.
“Surfing in Alaska isn’t as crazy as everyone thinks it is,” said Matt Wild, fresh off a trip to Homer to ride the waves in the bay.
Wild was a sponsored snowboarder until a knee injury a year ago took him off the slopes, and he said he turned to the water for another “extreme fix.” But it’s not the frigid ocean spray that makes surfing one of the toughest sports in Alaska: it’s the timing.
“The waves are very inconsistent, and most of the time it takes a boat to get to where the waves are,” Wild said. “But every once and a while the conditions will be perfect and push a swell to the shores of Homer.”
“It’s rare, so when it happens you have to be paying attention and drop everything to go surf, ‘cause it won’t last long.”
And while the Last Frontier boasts more than 40,000 miles of coastline, Wild said he’s still on the hunt for the perfect beach. The sport takes its devotees to secret shorelines and hidden stretches of coast around Alaska, and Wild said it’s shown him a new side of the state he calls home.
Alaska looks different from the back of a board.
“I think my favorite part about surfing in Alaska is the adventure it entails,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my days here pioneering new surf spots, and hopefully one day actually getting good at it!”