August 19, 2022

Top 10 questions about surfing in Kamchatka

How to get there, how much it costs, where to find an instructor – explains professional surfer Sergey Rasshivaev.

It is not difficult to understand why Kamchatka, along with Australia and Bali, is considered a top surfing destination today. Surf season all year round, waves, volcanoes attract both beginners and professional surfers to the peninsula.

To find answers to the most frequent questions about the surf-gurney in Kamchatka, we met with a professional surfer and trainer of the ISA L2 international category Sergey Rasshivaev.

Sergey Rasshivaev, professional surfer and trainer of the international category ISA L2

Sergey has surfed in all five oceans. Then, in 2010, he realized that he wanted to skate in Russia. Kamchatka then seemed to be one of the most prosperous places. And so it happened – Sergei flew to the peninsula and stayed for a month. Since then, he has come back here constantly, trained himself, and teaches beginners.

Why do surfers choose Kamchatka?

The main reason for the popularity of the peninsula is the incessant waves all year round. Most surfers ride on the east coast of Kamchatka, which the open Pacific Ocean washes. The most famous volcanoes are located on this peninsula: Avachinsky, Koryaksky, and Klyuchevskaya volcanoes. Both from the coast and the water, they have a stunning view.

When does the surf season start in Kamchatka?

Professionals ride in Kamchatka all year round, and beginners come in the summer. The peninsula is warmest in July and August: the air warms up to + 14-15 ° C in the afternoon, and water – up to + 15-16 ° C.

In June and September, the air and water are several degrees colder. The water is not as warm as in the tropics, but the surfing conditions are comfortable for beginners too.

In late autumn and winter, the ocean temperature drops to + 3-5 ° C. They also ride in cold water, but this requires a thick wetsuit (6-7 mm thick), preferably with a hood, and physical fitness.

Surfing in winter requires more endurance: the waves are more powerful in winter, a thick wetsuit and accessories (boots, gloves, helmet) add extra weight to you, which means that the board will have to be taken heavier. Even an experienced surfer in cold water gets tired faster and knows that the risk of injury while skiing in winter is much higher.

What is the best beach for surfing in Kamchatka

The most popular place is Khalaktyrsky beach (52.995755, 158.854173).

And although the conditions for pros on Khalaktyrsky beach are not every day, for not very experienced surfers and complete beginners, this place is ideal. Waves come here all the time; they rarely have periods of calm.

In addition, the location has three more apparent advantages:

  • transport accessibility. It is easy to get to Khalaktyrsky beach: the road from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by car takes about half an hour. You can also get there by public transport – for example, by bus – to Dolinovka and Zaozernoye. But he rarely walks and will take you only to the turn to the ocean: from there you will have to walk to the beach;
  • a large number of surf spots. Khalaktyrsky beach stretches along the coast for 30 km. There are many surf spots on it. But keep in mind that not all areas are suitable for surfing every day. Due to the length of the beach, waves in different parts of it can be very different – in height, speed, nature of the fault, and the direction of their covering;
  • sandy bottom. It is an essential prerequisite for beginners. It is safer to ride when there are no stones and corals at the bottom. Otherwise, your swim could end up with a broken knee or forehead.

What equipment is required for surfing in Kamchatka

Surfboards are no different from those on which ride around the world, but you have to pick up unique clothes.

To surf in Kamchatka, you need a wetsuit. Its thickness depends on the season. For summer, thin enough, 4–5 mm thick. However, if you plan to ride in the spring, fall or winter, you need a 6 mm wetsuit with a hood, boots, and mittens (7 mm). 

Are there surf schools in Kamchatka

Surfing schools in Kamchatka operate mainly from May to October – during the warm season when tourists come here. The most famous schools are Snowave Kamchatka and Quiksilver. They can be taught in groups or take individual lessons.

Experienced surfers have access to the services of a surf guide: he knows the best spots on the coast and will take you to them.

Do I need an instructor in Kamchatka?

If you want to get on the board for the first time, do it under the guidance of an instructor: you will learn faster and will not expose yourself to unnecessary danger. Going out to the ocean alone if you’ve never skated before is a bad idea. You can find an instructor at a surf school. But it is better to arrange the lessons in advance – via the Internet.

If you decide to surf in winter for the first time, it is also best to hire an instructor – even if you already have experience in the tropics. He will tell you how to get used to cold water and hedge against cramps (often in stiff water muscles cramp).

Is surfing in Kamchatka expensive?

Yes, Kamchatka is an expensive destination. But the prices for surfing training and equipment rental here do not differ from the world ones:

  1. group surfing lesson: 2000-3000 rubles per person for 2-3 hours
  2. individual assignment: from 5000 rubles
  3. services of a surf guide: from 3000 rubles

If you decide to take lessons at a surf school, you will not have to pay extra for the board and wetsuit rental: the instructor will select the equipment for you, which will be included in the price of the lesson.

If you know how to ride, the equipment can be rented – at the same school or a rental point. A board and a wetsuit will cost from 1,500 rubles a day. The price depends on the type of board, the thickness of the wetsuit, and its condition. All rentals offer budget options for beginners and equipment for professionals.

Is it safe to surf in Kamchatka?

Even though Kamchatka is a wildland, there are few dangers in the water for surfers. The main threat is cold water. If you ride in the summer, be prepared for the water not to be as warm as in the tropics. The wetsuit will protect you from hypothermia, but you still have to get used to the water temperature.

There are many seals in coastal waters, but they are not dangerous to surfers. But the sea lions will try to drive you out of their territory on the beach.

Beginners should remember: only a first aid kit and an instructor can provide first aid on the beach. In the event of a severe injury, you will have to get to the nearest city – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and drive to it for at least half an hour.

It is essential to listen to the instructor during classes and follow the safety rules:

  • Hold the board to your side with both hands and nose to the wave when entering the water. If you place the board across a wave, it can hit you;
  • keep your distance from other surfers. The minimum safe distance is two board lengths;
  • When you fall off the board, cover your head with your hands. In shallow water, try to fall flat or with your feet down; it is hazardous to fall upside down;
  • if you feel in a strong wave, relax, if possible, group up and wait until it stops twisting you. When you think that the tide has released, swim upward.

What is the best way to get to Kamchatka?

Kamchatka is a peninsula, but the locals consider themselves islanders. Therefore, trains and buses from the mainland do not go here.

 The easiest way to get to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is by plane. Direct flights of Aeroflot and S7 fly here from Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition, you can get there from Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and other large cities.

What about housing

If you are only flying for the surf, choose camping on the beach. You can stay in a tent, a cabin without amenities, or equipped accommodation with a shower. The price depends on the type of accommodation: a night in a tent costs from 500-700 rubles, a simple room – from 1500 rubles per person, a suite – from 3000 rubles.

A good option is to negotiate with local surf schools: Snowave has its campsite, and Quicksilver has a whole surf camp with accommodation.

 If you want to take a few lessons at a surf school and devote the rest of the time to nature and volcanoes, it is more convenient to stay in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The choice of accommodation here is standard: beds in hostels from 700–1000 rubles, double rooms in a hotel – from 2000 rubles.