The Kamchatka peninsula juts out off the east coast of Russia, stretching for 780 miles, into the Pacific ocean.
Waves march in from the depths of the pacific, detonating on jet black sand as active volcanoes rise up in the distance and bears roam freely in the wilderness that backs onto the beach.
Siberia is notorious for its harsh weather conditions and untouched landscape, however, after a succession of intrepid surf missions to Kamchatka, surfing has began to take off in the region. In recent years a keen contingent of local year round surfers have emerged, including an extremely talented lens-woman called Anna Gavrilova.
Here’s what she had to tell us about surfing on the peninsula:
“Hello, my name is Anna Gavrilova. I am 36 years old. I was born and grew up in Kamchatka.
All my life I have enjoyed active sports; skiing, snowboarding, and driving snowmobiles. I grew up on the edge of the volcanoes and spent much of my youth in the mountains and on hikes. Life in a tent is as comfortable for me as life in a house. I have always taken photos of everything, but nothing has caught my attention as much as surfing.
Five years ago I did not even know that it was possible to surf in Kamchatka. One day a team of Nixon athletes arrived here and I happened to be at the beach and saw them out in the waves. They were accompanied by a good friend of mine, Anton Morozov, founder of the first professional surf school in Kamchatka “Snowave” and has become one of my favourite people to photograph. He invited me to the camp and offered to teach me to surf. At the time I didn’t even know how to swim and was terribly afraid of the waves. I learned everything on the go, overcoming my fear and naturally began taking pictures of surfing, life, riders, our travels and the surf camp guests.
Now I spend a lot of time photographing surfing, it is my inspiration, passion and an important part of my life. We live on the beach in our surf camp from May to October, and in winter we come twice a week. We constantly follow the forecasts, communicate with tourists and are especially pleased when we’re visited by the surfing stars and world photographers with whom there is a real opportunity to communicate and gain experience.
Over time, we have developed the idea of creating a brand of clothes called “HALA people“, it means “People who live on the Halaktyr beach” and will set out to capture the place where we live, the things that inspire us, the people and their thoughts and ideas. It will be a small part of our life, which we can give to friends and everyone who visits us as a memento.”
See more of Anna’s beautiful work on her instagram.