Where does the name Turnagian Arm, come from?
Turnagain Arm was named by William Bligh who served as Cook's Sailing Master on his 3rd and final voyage, the aim of which was discovery of the Northwest Passage. Upon reaching the head of Cook Inlet, Bligh was of the opinion that both Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm were the mouths of rivers and not the opening to the Northwest Passage. Under Cook's orders Bligh organized a party to travel up Knik Arm, which quickly returned to report Knik Arm indeed led only to a river.
Afterwards a second party was dispatched up Turnagain Arm and it too returned to report only a river lay ahead. As a result of this frustration the second body of water was given the disingenuous name "Turn Again". Early maps label Turnagain Arm as the "Turnagain River".
Why surf the bore tide.
The Turnagain Arm Surf Company embodies the spirit of the local Alaskan bore tide surfers. These brave souls test themselves year around, showing up in an attempt to find allignment in their lives. Acknowledging the forces of the moon, sun, wind, and water to find their center. An ultimate connection to nature.
The mud here is a colloid – a substance that shifts from solid to liquid at a second’s notice. Sometimes, people get stuck in these flats, and the suction doesn’t release them. Firemen with boards and special rescue equipment have to come and save them. In 1988, Alaskans were horrified at the tragic story of a young woman who drowned in the deadly incoming tide, while surrounded by frantic rescuers who never managed to get her out. Sometimes people face these fears and surf this incoming tide, experiencing the "best day ever". The mudflats are a hazard, and no reason not to surf.
Are the mud Flats dangerous?
When do I want to book a bore-tide adventure?
The bore-tide fluctuates with the moon. The week adjacent to the new moon or the full moon is the best time to make space for your bore-tide adventure. We operate between April and September. The warmest and lightest months are May-August. We suggest surfing this wave a few days in a row to get a well rounded experience.
Can I rent equipment and surf on my own?
Yes, please refer to our Surf Etiquette page before. Learn how to read the Anchorage tide tables (link below). To figure when the wave will pass Bird point add approximately 2 hours to the low-tide in anchorage. The incoming tide needs to be at least a 28ft tide to form a wave. From there watch the wave and figure out where you want to surf based on your ability. There are advanced sections and beginner friendly sections. The beginner friendly sections happen South of Girdwood. The Section directly after Bird Point is a more advanced section. With that said, we recommend you take advantage of our Surf with the Local Program and gain the knowledge before venturing out on your own.
How cold is it?
Air temp can range between 30-80 degrees Fahrenheit. High winds and rain are common. We also get beautiful sunny days. Water temp ranges from 30 F in the early spring to 50 F in peak summer. Just remember that it is the weather and we are in Alaska. No expectations please.