Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island

South Atlantic Ocean
LAST UPDATED 14/07/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Net code





29 km


Extreme Polar


Very Isolated, Extreme Cold, Severe Storms, Difficult Access

Best Months

May - August

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Special Pass / Permits, Lengthy VISA Process, Non tourist Friendly


NASA: Bouvet Island; 2005

This part of the world is where South Atlantic swell is born, as a result, you are often too close to the genesis area of these storms, fronts and depressions to enjoy clean swell. Summer is your only season here (Dec-Feb). The deciding factor is the temperature, even with the latest technology available, human life is basically unsustainable in these waters for any real period of time. You will need titanium vests, drysuts, experimental heating systems and thats just to start. Most surfers use a board with a 'diamond deck', so inbuilt onboard texture on the deck, similar to what is used in the windsurfing industry. The type of wax you would need to be effective here would be liquid at normal room temperature and so transport of it to and from the break once on your board is difficult.

Winter is dark virtually all year round and ice is a big problem, apart from the reality of hitting something it effectively attenuates any swell in the area. The months either side are really pushing the limits of human endurance but with a few hours of sunlight on average it is a possibility for the well prepared. Swells here are massive but often a near blizzard of wind and spray. Summer will bring respite as the storm cells retreat just a little further south.

Hypothermia is a real problem here and drysuits can be difficult to manouvre in. The most exciting aspect of surfing here is that it is truly pushing the boundaries of what surfing is. For once, technology is being dragged kicking and screaming behind some of the expeditions to areas such as this, any day now it is going to catch up and when that happens, extreme cold water surfing will eventially become a mainstream activity. Waves in areas such as this will be the new discoveries and uncrowded paradises of the next generation of surfers. Trade in your boardies for a 7mm steamer, booties and hood and get onboard!

what to pack

Pupils info: Some folded scarves, 20 December 2005

The island is uninhabited, so if you manage to get there (which is very difficult), take EVERYTHING with you. You won't regret a plenty of cold weather gear! Your camera and all the equipment you'd need for it (btw, think of the warm gloves that are easy to photo with), plus a good waterproof bags that will also prevent your gear from getting frozen.

Basically, the main idea is - the warmer, the better - though temperatures can vary greatly during the day, so bring also some slightly thinner clothes. Bring windproof and waterproof clothes, warm jerseys and sturdy walking shoes for all seasons, as well as warm underwear. Bring all medical things u need with you and also toiletries.

Sunglasses and protective sun lotion are highly recommended. All the gear: a good sleeping bag and tent that are good for very low temp; special gas container u can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack.


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