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Saltwater swirled around my feet erasing the tracks as it turned the fresh snow to slush.

“Yep, them are neoprene bootie tracks all right, a sure sign of surfers in the area. It can be hard to get a visual on them when it’s snowing like this though– with all the snow in the air you gotta get within about a hundred yards of ’em.”

Snowy winter surf session in Alaska.Standing out on the snow covered beach yesterday looking for the surfers I was there to photograph I had time to think about how strange it was. There I am in a near white out, the normally dark grey beach is white with fresh snow, looking out towards the rumbling surf I can barely make out the surfers in their black wetsuits. The sky was dark with heavy snow clouds, the waves were still messy from a nearby storm. Every once in a while I’d look back up the beach towards the cars and another black shape with a big white object would emerge from the greyness heading my way, every patch of skin covered up except a little red face. The surf wasn’t really very good, but after a slow fall season there were a handful of eager Alaskan surfers out there trying to see the sets coming through the blowing snow.

Vince Tillion smiles after a snowy winter surf session in Alaska.It is incredibly inspiring and enjoyable to photograph unique subjects like this. Standing out there stomping my feet to keep the blood flowing I couldn’t stop smiling thinking about it, surfers and a snowstorm, what a contrast. Though winter is our surf season, it’s not that often that we get the pleasure of surfing during a heavy snow. I was glad to be able to get out and photograph in the few short hours we had before the sun dipped back below the mountains.

UPDATE 11/27/08:  I’ve launched a little hobby blog for sharing more session reports, location info, photos and stories about surfing in Alaska. Check it out here –  www.SurfAlaska.net