LAST UPDATED 25/11/2007
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Level of surfing

Beginner

Quality of surf

Average

Call code

98

Net code

ir

Area

1648195

Coastline

2,440 km

Climate

Mostly arid or semiarid, subtropical along Caspian coast

Hazards

Extreme Heat, Difficult Access, Coup / Civil Unrest

Best Months

November - December

Population

70472846

Currency

Iranian Rial (IRR) rials per US dollar - 9,227.1 (2006)

Time Zone

IRST (UTC+3.30)

Special Requirements

Private Beaches, Special Pass / Permits, Lengthy VISA Process, Non tourist Friendly, Strict Religious Observance

surfing

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Nightryder84: Chabahar Coast; 2005

ARABIAN COAST 

The ancient sands of the Iranian deserts spill over into the shallow seas of the Arabian gulf and create some truly interesting sand bank formations. The lack of open water in Iran means that there are not a lot of river systems to punctuate the coastline here and create surf friendly formations but make no mistake, there is regular swell on the coast here. West of Bandar Abbas your into the Persian Gulf and limited ot occasional windswell at best, but to the east, the coast has excellent exposure to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

People have only just started to think about surfing Iran in the last few years and so the amentities that the surf travel industry relies upon suh as boats, accomodation and coastal transport do not exist yet but they are coming.

Storm cells rip through the Arabian Sea around MAY through to JULY and deliver good swell right along the coast. It is worth bearing in mind that there are fewer than 5 surfers living in Iran so it's one of those places that you dont mind surfing with someone else for a change. The predominat flow of SW swell across the Indian Ocean tends to miss the coast with Sri Lanka really being the cut off point for reliable swell activity originating in the Southern Hemisphere.

Wandering swell systems can and do manage to get bent back to the coastline here however offering you another source of swell generating activity. Be sure to enjoy the isolation while it lasts, before someone builds a surf camp there.

CASPIAN SEA

Around 5.5 million years ago, the modern day continents of Europe and Asia (then Laurasia) finally joined with part of the Gondwana supercontinent. For millions of years, the body of water that lie between them was known as the Tethys Ocean. As this gap closed, the Ocean became the Tethys Sea and finally whay was once an ocean was lifted to form the mightly Himalayas. The residual water from this great Ocean forms the modern day Mediterranean, Black, Caspian and Aral seas. Whilst the Mediterrnanean maintains a tenuous direct passage to the open ocean via the Strait of Gibraltar, the other seas are now totally cut off; ancient reminders of a long forgotten Ocean, we are left to merely speculate on what surfing that Ocean 250 million years ago would have been like.

Surfing the Caspian Sea from Iran is like stepping back in time. with a total surface area of 371,000 square kilometres there is ample space for significant wind swell to develop. These events are uncommon but have been significant enough to sink shipping even in recent times. What you are looking for is a stray sirocco storm system to go spinning out of control across the Med and skip across Turkey to the Caspian. The window for this event is small with Nov-Dec your best bet. Can you honestly think of a more unique surfing experience than spending a northern hemisphere winter hunkered down in a bar in the Iranian town of Babol Sar waiting for the mother of all storms to turn the Caspian into a swell generating machine. When it happens, hire a Lada and hit the sandy points and bars of the coast just out of town - a unique experience that few of us will ever experience.

 

what to pack

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Rich Niewiroski Jr.: 62 mm ultra-violet, fluorescent, and polarizing lens filters. Camera used was a Canon 400D; April 9, 2007

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more. By the way, getting medical insurance for the trip would be a good idea too.

And take a good protection for your camera from the sand.

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