Mike McCune Surfing a Cook Inlet winter storm as it breaks on an icy Ninilchik, Alaska beach.
Mike had been watching the weather, maybe a little too closely. The waves in Homer were suffering from a 30mph onshore wind but the buoys and weather stations had him thinking that something might be going on up the road 40 miles at the mouth of the Ninilchik River or Deep Creek. It was such a gnarly winter blizzarding day that I could not say no to this invite. With the conditions what they were it was a pretty easy decision to leave the wetsuit behind and bring the fur hat and camera bag instead. Gart Curtis and I met Mike at his house and up the road through the blowing snow we went.
This trip, unlike some other recent wave hunts, did not disappoint. I could ramble on about the day for a while, but time is very short. My bags are packed and I’m heading to Prince William Sound for 5 days on a photo project. Of course I’ll keep an eye out for waves.
The photos are a bit ‘flat’. It was snowing hard, and blowing in circles limiting visibility pretty badly, the light was poor, but the subject was great.
Gart Curtis and Mike McCune walking a path through the ice to the waves on Cook Inlet, Alaska.
Mike McCune surfing a Cook Inlet winter wave in Ninilchik, Alaska.
Alaskan surfer Mike McCune trying to find his way amongst the chunks of ice on the beach in a snow storm.
Mike McCune sits on a chunk of ice as he waits for Gart to scramble his way up the icy beach.
Alaskan surfer, Gart Curtis, covers his face from the wind as he jumps between chunks of ice. Mike McCune can be seen in the field of snow ahead.
The surf was overhead, the snow was about knee high. Gart Curtis trudges back to the truck during a winter surf session in Alaska.
The surf session started at Deep Creek. Mike and Gart drifted north in the current about a quarter mile to the mouth of the creek. By the time we got back up to the ‘put-in’ the tide had risen several feet and the waves were crashing into the ice chunks. We decided to head for the Ninilchik River in hopes that the waves would be breaking at least a few feet off the beach.
Alaskan surfer, Mike McCune, scopes the break as Gart slips down the icy sloap into the surf.
Gart Curtis surfing an icy gray Cook Inlet, Alaska wave.
Mike McCune drops in on a set wave breaking just a few feet off the ice.
Alaska surf kayaker, Randy Kellar contemplating his chances of getting outside the break without getting crushed in the ice.
I was wondering what would happen when Mike and Gart decided to come back to land. The rising tide and increasing swell size had the waves crashing over the steep icy incline into the field of ice chunks. Here's Mike riding the ocean powered water slide up into an awaiting ice linebacker.
Despite losing a fin and finding a large hole in his board from the exit battle, Mike is all smiles and ice at the end of the session.