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PHOTOS: Surfing the swells of a distant Aleutian Island

Clean waves and a clear day in place known as the 'cradle of storms.' Alex Gray lets his fins loose on this wave amidst the empty Aleutian coastline. Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Surfing beneath volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands. From left to right Alex Gray, Pete Devries, and Josh Mulcoy.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Pete Devries carves on an icy wave in the Aleutian Islands.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Josh Mulcoy poised in a perfect tube far from civilization. Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Pete Devries hits the lip in a remote Alaskan bay.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Without any roads on the island ATVs were the preferred method of transportation. Here's all three of the guys searching for surf.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Snowy volcanoes make for picturesque backdrops to the daily commute.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
In many Alaskan village the animals vastly outnumber humans and the same was true for these caribou in the Aleutians.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Waterfalls as seen from the plane.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Moments after they arrived at the beach on ATVs Alex Gray scores a perfect barrel.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Antlers that were shed from caribou decorate the endless terrain.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Alex Gray, Pete Devries, and Josh Mulcoy take a moment to soak in the empty landscape of Alaska.
Courtesy Chris Burkard
Alaska Dispatch News

Surfer magazine photographer Chris Burkard traveled to Umnak Island in the Aleutian Islands to shoot surfers braving the cold Alaska water. His images capture the surreal landscape of a small but grand part of the Aleutian chain.

Umnak is the third largest Aleutian island, with only 40 residents and the only field of geysers in Alaska.  According to Burkard, “With no roads to the ocean we relied on ATVs to travel the distance from the village to the coast. As we crested the final hill we were treated not only with a view of the distant snow-covered volcano, but a point with waves peeling down its right side. It was a moment I had hoped for but didn't expect to see -- clean waves and a clear day in a place known as the 'cradle of storms.' ”

“To be honest, I would bet that a majority of the year this place is not that photogenic and plagued with bad weather and storms, but when the conditions come together just right, it is nature's masterpiece. The remoteness of the places I travel in Alaska often leave me searching with a boat or by mix of planes, cars, and ATVs. It was actually pretty surreal to trek a few hours through some of the most untouched nature I've seen only to stumble upon waves. Whenever you are in a place with such a remote nature, every angle and spot you shoot looks like another planet.

"Part of why I love traveling to these remote destinations is it puts nature as the star of the images and the surfers as just small objects within the beauty that surrounds them. The fact that the Aleutians seem to only produce perfect waves helps add some photogenic qualities to the images.”

Watch this behind the scenes video to see Chris Burkard in process of shooting and this trailer to his documentary about surfing in Alaska.