Surfing sealion cove southeast Alaska

A little piece of paradise. Sealion Cove on the Northwest corner of Kruzof Island in Southeast Alaska brought our dreams to life one sunny November day.

This spot had come highly recommended by the local surfers in Sitka, now we know why. We had the M/V Milo out on her first sea trial before we head off on our four week surf adventure across the Gulf of Alaska. With a Southwesterly swell running at 12ft and light Easterly winds the conditions looked ideal for this spot though a bit much to just anchor in the cove and paddle in. We anchored the Milo in Kalinin Bay in the evening and made the hike over to Sealion cove the next morning.

It was a gorgeous hike on a really nicely built trail that even a couple eager surfers could enjoy as we sweated our way over the hill. A 6mm wetsuit can really get you sweating! Somehow we had it in our heads that this was going to be a quick 30 minute stroll over to the beach. While it’s not something to be afraid of, it is a considerable hike that took us about an hour carrying surfboards, a little daypack, camera gear and lunch. It wouldn’t be much fun carrying a longboard on this one. If we return with a swell anything less than 10ft the plan is to just anchor in Sealion Cove itself.

hike in surf

Mike McCune hiking the Sealion Cove Trail.

What a reward for the eyes of a sweaty surfer!

Sealion Cove is incredibly beautiful with a nice mossy forest opening up to sedge grass that fades into a two mile white sand beach. Not to mention the 15ft-20ft mauling waves on the North end!

A feast for hungry eyes

The biggest waves were on the North end of the beach but we weren’t quite feeling up to playing chicken with the rocky shoreline that those waves were heading for. So we walked further South on the beach where the conditions looked more manageable.

The beach break was surprisingly easy to paddle out through and we found even the biggest waves to be pretty easy going. Soon we had made our way back up the beach half way to the North end which was catching the full force of the Southwest swell. I didn’t spare much time for taking photos, but squeaked out a couple shots of Mike on two nice lefts. While he surfed lefts for the day I mostly took rights. Both held up really nice and for what amounts to a beach break we were very impressed.

Scott Dickerson surfing Sealion Cove. Mike grabbed my camera for a few waves near the end of the session.

pure surf Alaska stoke

It was hard leaving even after a few hours in the water but we certainly didn’t want to make the hike back through the forest in the dark. So we walked out of paradise smiling to ourselves reminiscing on the waves of the day. Just a few steps into the forest we were quickly shaken from our reverie by the sound and sight of a sow brown bear with her cub running down the trail away from us. That’s just the way I like to see bears in this kind of circumstance – running away from me.

We made it back to Kalinin Bay just at dark and loaded our boards and bags onto the standup paddleboards we left on the shore and guided by the anchor light of the Milo, we paddled back to our hot showers and warm bunks.

That my friends, is a surf Alaska dream come true for Mike and I. The waves that day were some of the biggest I’ve ever surfed and to find them out there in the untouched wilds of Alaska was the cherry on top.

Gear Notes:

Suits: Mike wore the new Matuse Tumo 6/5mm thinking that he might appreciate the extra warmth on the hike home. Well, we learned one thing, this is one hot hiking suit. The sweat was flowing on the hike. He commented that even after a heavy pounding and flushing he’s never had that much water in the suit. Once in the water he was more comfortable but still with the water temps right around 50º this suit was too hot. I wore a new Xcel Drylock 5/4 and was overheating, but not by a completely uncomfortable amount. The hooded 4/3 would have been more appropriate I think. This was my first time wearing a hooded Drylock and I was very impressed with how watertight the suit was. I can almost always pour some water out of my boots at the end of a good session – not a drop came out this time. The Matuse suits are very light and dry very quickly which is a nice feature for a hike in situation like this.

Accesories: We were both happy in our Xcel 7mm Drylock Boots and 5mm three-finger gloves and 3mm five-finger gloves.  Lighter boots would have been fine as well. The ideal setup here probably would have been 5mm boots and 3mm gloves.