A few months removed from an amazing journey through the Aleutian Islands with Josh Mulcoy and Alex Gray, Canada’s Pete Devries reflects on his trip through Alaska.
What were your thoughts when you first heard about the Alaska trip?
I'd actually been to Aleutians once before and we got completely skunked. We had problems with flights. We weren't organized and got stuck in the harbor for half of the trip. We got their the last day of swell and saw a little bit of potential, but we weren't able to actually really surf it. I think we only surfed once on that trip for two weeks. So I was nervous to go back. I almost didn't go. Josh Mulcoy and I were talking and we were actually kind of over it. It's just so expensive. But then Mulcoy decided he was in and then I decided to go for it and the rest is history.
How did the cold in Alaska stack up against the cold in British Columbia?
Ha, it was actually quite a bit colder. The water especially. The air temps weren't too bad. The winds are ruthless though. That's what gets you. That can really make you miserable quick. We came in pretty frozen every day.
How long was a typical session?
Five hours if you're Alex. If it's good, he surfed until he was literally blue. But for the rest of us, two-hour sessions, sometimes longer, were the norm. That's mostly because we had such good equipment. It wasn't easy though.
Tell me about what it was like the first day you guys scored.
From the air, we could see that there was swell when we flew in. We could see this bay, Dutch Harbor, and knew that there were going to be plenty of waves. So we were psyching as soon as we touched down. We basically went to the lodge, grabbed the quads and got out there. The right slab was the first wave we surfed. So we knew we had potential from the outset. We were just trading off barrels. It was amazing. The weather was insane for this stretch. We heard it rained for a month or so before we showed up. It was pretty much blue skies most of time we were there. It was perfect.
Was there a session that really stood out to you as a highlight?
The session at the bigger right for sure. We were just watching Alex get so ridiculously barreled. It was amazing. That wave was sketchy. It was big and there's a rock right in front of the take-off spot. We were all a little hesitant, but Alex just went out there and went for it. All in all, everything was great though. I love going to outdoor trips that are remote. It's hard not to have an amazing time when you're driving around on quads with your friends scoring these really remote waves in the middle of nowhere.
Do you see Alaska becoming a new frontier for surfing, or do you think its remoteness will keep other surfers at bay?
There are definitely other people who will want to go where we went. But yeah, I think you'll see other people trying to get it, for sure. But it's really expensive to make it happen. You could spend 5 grand and only surf one day. That being said, I think you'll see new crews of people scoping it out and scoring.
Any plans to return?
Definitely. I'm looking forward to going back for sure. I want to check out some other areas that are harder to get to but I think could hold a lot of potential. I’ll keep you posted.