Fifteen years ago, Tom Servais traveled to Alaska with a group of young pro surfers, magazine editor Steve Hawk, and Dr. Mark Renneker to explore the Aleutian Islands for surf potential. But it was more than that.
Arriving in Unalaska, AK, (L to R) Peter Mel, Donovon Frankenreiter (sans mustache), Jay Moriarity, Mark "Doc" Renneker, and Anthony Ruffo, ready for some time in the bush.
Consulting the Map
This wasn't your typical show up at the dock and get ferried to some reef. Mark "Doc" Renneker and Alaskan bush pilot pouring over the maps in Unalaska.
The pilot landed them on Umnak Island where a local guide prepared their transport to the swell-facing coastline, complete with "Alaskan tennis shoes" and firecrackers to ward off aggressive seals.
On The Road
Each leg of the trip bought them further from the grid, but closer to all that surf potential. "It took two trips to haul everyone and their gear to the most beautiful camp spot you could imagine," said Servais.
After several days of a fun little left, the swell arrived. Here's Peter Mel's characteristic bottom turn in a very uncharacteristic destination.
With 71 islands in the Aleutian Chain, the possibilities are endless. But the true spoils will be rewarded to those who put in the time.
Moriarity passed away in a free diving accident in 2001, four years after this trip. "Given the fact that Jay would not be with us much longer, it was an especially good trip for the crew," remembers Servais.
Moriarity -- dry, warm and not going hungry.
Imagine the weather it must have taken to ground this tanker.
Jay Moriarity, Steve Hawk
Steve Hawk referred to Moriarity as "the most helpful 19-year-old in the world." Post-surf shower buddy system.
When this spot turned on, it was a true reward for the effort that had been put in to get to this far corner of the world.