Q&A With Scott Reierson of Alaska Surf Guides
It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.
Owner and guide, Scott Reierson, offers remote Surfing & Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) adventures to people looking to go deeper into Alaska and experience some truly hidden gems. Alaska Surf Guides is based out of Seward, Alaska and uses helicopter & bush plane to access back country beaches for half-day and multi-day adventures. Their Heli-Surf Trip combines the thrilling experience of helicopter flightseeing while offering unmatched access to remote surf breaks. Surf/sightseeing in a fixed wing bush plane not only allows visitors a taste of this unique and necessary form of Alaska transportation, but it allows them to scour the coastline in pursuit of rarely surfed Alaska waves.
We recently sat down with Scott to learn more about the journey he has taken as a small business owner in Seward.
What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?
We are the only Seward company flying visitors to consistent surf breaks around the area. I consistently study weather patterns, currents, swells and new surf spots that are only accessible by air. In an age where the “surf safari” is dying out, it’s taking more and more extreme measures to get to undiscovered surf breaks. With over 6500 miles of coastline, Alaska is becoming the last frontier for the epic surf trip. Our helicopter and bush plane trips are a new way of discovering and riding waves without the crowds and competition you would find at well-known surf spots.
Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.
Our Cabin Retreat Overnight Trip is an incredible opportunity for adventurous surfers to escape the crowds and experience the surreal scenery of Alaska’s remote coastlines and captivating wildlife. With up to a half hour of helicopter flight-seeing, a home-cooked meal, and a night in a hand-built cabin located right on Alaska’s gulf coast, this is trip is truly an diamond in the rough. Waking up next to the crashing ocean and being the first and only one out on breaking waves is a true Alaskan experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.
I include all gear and either a surfboard or paddleboard in the price of my trips. This means I had to buy a whole fleet of wetsuits of all different sizes for anyone who might want to book a trip. It was a big risk and expense, but it makes Alaska Surf Guides stand out from other operations. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to squeeze in a surf trip on their Alaska vacation, since not a lot of people are coming here just for surfing.
What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?
We offer trips geared towards all different skill levels. As surfers know, wave size changes on a daily basis. So, we are transparent with our clients about the level of experience recommended for any particular condition. We plan each trip according to the wave direction, wind, tide and surf break, so we can tell clients exactly what to expect. After we land at the remote beach, we discuss the associated hazards and nuances of that particular surfing break (riptide, bottom profile, wildlife etc.). This way, anyone with even a little surfing experience will know what kinds of conditions to expect and have the confidence to surf new terrain.
What is the best compliment your business has ever received?
“It’s not just a surf trip, it’s an adventure!”
What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?
Build a business around your passion!
How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?
My family has been long-time Seward residents. My parents met while working the fish processing line at Seward Fish in the 80’s. They had me 27 years ago; I am so happy to call Seward my home!
What do you like most about living and working in Seward?
The supportive community helps make starting and running a business so much easier! There are so many business men and women in Seward that have helped me and that I admire, that I can’t do them all justice here.
How do you spend your free time?
One of the best things about owning a business that you love is that work doesn’t feel like work. So whether it’s surfing or doing something else for the business, I usually spend all my time “working”!
There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?
Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?
Alaska Surf Guides will have an office at Seward’s Adventure Station & Lodge, located at 334 4th Ave. The Station offers visitors a vibrant downtown location where they can meet like-minded adventurers and explore Seward’s many activities, tours, and experiences.
Feature Image: Sun, snow and solo waves; a perfect day for a surf adventure. Photo Courtesy of Alaska Surf Guides.
For more information about Alaska Surf Guides click here or call 907.519.0407.