Alaskan photographer Kevin Goodman received a free round trip air ticket from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia as the winner of Yakutia Airlines’ 2019 Alaska Photo Contest. Kevin traveled to Kamchatka this past summer and here he shares his impressions and advice.
Q: What made you want to travel to Kamchatka, and what was your reaction when you realized you won Yakutia Airlines’ Alaska Photo Contest?
Kamchatka was always a dream destination of mine! From doing a bunch of research on the amazing volcanic landscapes to actually being able to go there was pretty remarkable. When I found out I won the photo contest I was ecstatic! I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! I want to thank Yakutia Airlines for putting the contest out there and making dreams come true!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you discover your passion for photography?
I’m Kevin Goodman, I am a photographer/filmmaker from Anchorage, Alaska. My first year of college is when I truly discovered my passion for photography. I saw an avenue to get people stoked on life and bring joy to people around me. If I’m going climbing or surfing with friends and I am able to show them a photo of themselves doing what they love and they are happy, that is the biggest reward and that is what keeps me going.
Q: How long was your trip to Kamchatka, and what was on your itinerary?
My trip to Kamchatka was for 2 weeks. Our itinerary was first to tour around the city, get acclimated to the culture and eat good food. I am a firm believer that I had the best coffee ever….**Take that America. If you are traveling to Kamchatka make sure to stop at Liberty Coffee, you will not regret it!
After spending some time in the city, we hit the coast to go find some waves to surf! THERE IS SURFING IN RUSSIA!!! The surfing was amazing! The waves were awesome and consistent! After spending a couple days at the Quiksilver Surf Camp, we climbed a volcano! Climbing the volcano was probably the craziest thing we did! Just to get there we had to hitch a ride in a 6 wheel military truck. The hills and mountains we climbed with that truck blew me away! They can go up and over anything. Being on the volcano truly made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere (you were)!
Q: Please tell us about your experience of getting a Russian visa for your trip.
I was lucky enough to have friends who have been there, so the visa process was not bad.
Q: Can you share one or two of the most memorable experiences from your trip?
The most memorable experience was at the surf camp. The people we met were insanely awesome and the hospitality was amazing!
Q: What is the best piece of travel advice you can give to Americans who comes to Kamchatka?
JUST GO! Yes, there is a language barrier but the Landscapes of Kamchatka will blow you away! Have a good travel buddy and JUST GO!
Q: You don’t have to speak Russian to go to Russia, but tell us about your experience breaking down the language barrier.
Google translate will become your best friend! Pointing at something a smiling will work to! We were blessed because we had connections made in Russia prior to our trip, who took us around and translated!
Q: For those who have never been to Kamchatka, what are the top 3 reasons to go?
1. Volcanic landscapes
2. Amazing hospitality
3. Awesome surf
Useful Links & Resources:
- Alaska – Russian Far East Flights: Direct, non-stop air service between Alaska and Kamchatka.
- Everything You Need to Know About Russian Visas.
- Check Kamchatka Travel Portal. It provides a wealth of information about many local activities, restaurants, hotels, and more.
Kamchatka Surfing Resources:
- Quicksilver Surf Camp & School
- Snowave Kamchatka Surf School
- SUP Boarding and Surfing
- The following tour operators in Kamchatka can arrange surfing tours:
– Travel Kamchatka
– Volcanoes Land
Articles and Videos about Surfing on Kamchatka
- It’s been just over a decade since surfing first took root in Kamchatka, Russia. Now a number of small surf schools have appeared, teaching those who make the long journey to be there, what it’s really like surfing on the very edge of the wilderness. Surfing with bears in the Russian wilderness, Video by Bjorn Nilsson, by BBC Reel.
- Surfer Magazine: Surfer writer Ben Weiland and photographer Chris Burkard traveled with Keith Malloy, Dane Gudauskas, Trevor Gordon, and Cyrus Sutton to Russia’s Kamchatka. What follows is a short film and outtakes from their adventures.
- A Russian adventure to the desolate shores of Kamchatka. Hidden Sea and the Pyramid of Fire, video by Surfer Magazine.
Interviews and articles about Kamchatka & The Russian Far East you might like:
- Gregory Sedov’s Kamchatka Journeys.
- The Ichanga River: An Epic Kamchatka Fly Fishing Adventure.
- Interview with Secret Compass’ Phil de Berger: Life on an Adventure Expedition in Kamchatka, Russia.
- Interview with Rene Limeres: On Kamchatka, Writing and Fishing.
- Adventures in The Russian Far East: Interview with Vadim Mamontov, Director & Founder of RussiaDiscovery Travel Company
- Alaskan’s Adventures in Kamchatka: Interview with Scott McMurren
- How Was Your Trip to Kamchatka? Traveler Janet Read Answers Our Questions
- Interview with Michael Schneider, Adventurer & Founder of 56th Parallel
- Questions with Martha Madsen: Adventure Travel Specialist on Kamchatka, Russia