Yakutat’s waves are the progeny of storms brewing in the North Pacific. The faces of water can rear up at heights of 25 feet or more, especially in the spring and fall when the storms are most fierce. The waves are decent, surf pros say, but they visit mostly because Alaska is an exotic change from the sunny surfing sites in California, Australia and the Pacific Islands. “These waves are a little bit difficult to surf because there’s no real hollowness to them until they get to a bigger size,” said Layne Beachley, who has won six straight women’s world surfing titles. “But it’s just beautiful. You have staredowns with seals. There are bald eagles. It’s just like you see in the postcards.” Surfing culture is spreading from Yakutat slowly along the southeast and south-central Alaska coast. Scott Liska, who operates Anchorage-based Alaska Surf Adventures, ferries increasing numbers of surfers out to waves lapping islands and coastlines in south-central Alaska. Surfers, along with kayakers and windsurfers, also have ridden waves formed by the incoming bore tide as it races up Turnagain Arm near Anchorage. “More and more people are surfing each year,” Liska said. “Five years ago people thought you should be locked up. People thought you were crazy.” Shops stocked with surf gear have opened in Anchorage and the island of Kodiak to serve Alaska’s cold-climate clientele. In Yakutat, Icy Waves surf shop sells hooded sweat shirts, fleece vests and wetsuits, but there’s no sign of the drawstring board shorts or skin-baring swimsuits found in surf shops at lower latitudes. There’s even a board designed specially for local surf conditions. The yellow- and white-striped longboard by California shaper Jed Noll has been dubbed the “Yakutat model” because it’s thicker and more buoyant than a normal board. That’s to compensate for the extra weight of a wetsuit and the reduced flotation caused by the lower-than-normal salt content in Yakutat’s waters, said store owner Jack Endicott. City finance director Connie Klushkan is one of a few dozen Yakutat residents who have picked up the sport in the past few years. “With Endicott opening his shop and making all the equipment available to us, that’s what opened up the sport,” she said. “It’s good exercise and it’s relaxing, challenging and mostly it’s fun.” Sam Demmert, who rented his first equipment from Icy Waves, now owns three boards. He’s confident enough to surf alone off beaches with no lifeguards, but still likes checking out the techniques of visiting pros. “It kind of legitimizes the place, that they’re willing to come up here and surf,” Demmert said. “You and your friends want to get better. Well, there’s the pinnacle of the sport right there.” For more information on surfing in Alaska online, see http://www.icywaves.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Alaska’s waters had remained largely untested by surfers until the early 1990s. Just before Mulcoy’s arrival in Yakutat, a few locals scrounged up some used wetsuits along with old surfboards from the town dump and the rear of someone’s garage, and started sampling their backyard breaks. “Then the place got discovered by Outside surfers,” said Mayor Casey Mapes, a lifelong Yakutat resident. “We wound up getting together with those guys and learned some tricks from them.” Yakutat is a commercial fishing town that sits on a peninsula yielded by a receding glacier in southeast Alaska. Its roads end near the city limits along Yakutat Bay and Tongass National Forest. Two flights a day roll in on the local tarmac, making it more difficult and expensive to reach than most warm-weather surfing spots. Driving out to Yakutat’s beaches can take up to 40 minutes on a packed dirt road pocked with potholes. The road muscles through a thick undergrowth of alder, large-leafed devil’s club and bushes of red salmonberries. A canopy of Sitka spruce and hemlock towers overhead. “It’s so opposite of any other place I go,” Mulcoy said. “It’s nice to go someplace where there’s not a whole bunch of surfers.” YAKUTAT, Alaska – The chill of seawater mixed with glacial melt does little to faze pro surfer Josh Mulcoy as he launches his board off a beach piled high with whole spruce logs and multihued rocks smoothed by the grinding of ice. “Right now it’s not that bad,” Mulcoy said. “It probably gets worse in the winter.” Mulcoy, from Santa Cruz, became one of the first people to surf Alaskan waves in 1992. His appearance on a Surfer Magazine cover the next year helped establish Yakutat as the state’s main surf stop. Since then, a mom-and-pop surf shop has become a community landmark, Outside magazine named Yakutat one of the top five U.S. surf towns, and riding the chilly waves has gone from fringe to mainstream leisure sport in this seaside hamlet of fewer than 700 people.
Vijayawada, Mar 15 (PTI) Eleven people, including four medical students, were killed and at least 40 injured in two separate accidents in Andhra Pradesh, police said today. Four MBBS students of Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad were killed in an accident on NH65 at Surayapalem on the outskirts of Vijayawada as the private Volvo bus they were travelling in rammed into a tree.As many as 31 other students were injured in the mishap last night. Driver of the bus, who the injured students alleged was in an inebriated state, was also killed in the incident.The students were returning to Hyderabad in the specially-hired bus from Amalapuram in East Godavari district when the accidents took place around midnight.In all, there were 48 medical students in the bus, who were returning after taking part in a sports meet in Amalapuram.The deceased students have been identified as M Pranay and Rajaram (fourth year) and Giri Laxman and M Vinay Teja (house surgeons).”We suspected that the driver was drunk and we called the bus operator to change the driver. The operator assured us that the driver would be changed at Vijayawada but that did not happen. The drunk driver was driving the vehicle at a high speed when it rammed into a roadside tree,” some of the injured students, who were being treated in a private hospital in Vijayawada, said.Telangana State Health Minister P Laxma Reddy rushed to Vijayawada to visit the injured students. He said the Telangana government would bear the medical expenses of the injured students.advertisement “We will take necessary action against those responsible for the accident after an inquiry,” the minister said at the hospital. Chief Ministers of AP and Telangana, N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao, expressed grief over the accident. Naidu directed the officials to immediately submit a report on the causes for the accident. He also directed state Transport Minister Sidda Raghava Rao to study the reasons for the series of road accidents and take urgent steps for their prevention. (MORE) PTI DBV DK DV RYS