Finding surf in the Ukrainian seas
- 03 March 2014 | Travel
Ukraine doesn't usually get spots listed in surf travel guides. It simply isn't the ultimate surfing destination. But, can you actually find waves and surf in Ukraine?
Ukraine - whose term derives from "ukraina" (borderland or frontier region) - has 44.6 million people. The second largest country of the Old Continent has 2782 kilometers (1729 miles) of coastline.
The country has a mostly temperate continental climate, although the southern Crimean coast has a humid subtropical climate. The small Ukrainian surfing community is only able to find waves in two different water resources: the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. That is not a problem, though.
The Crimean Peninsula separates the western and eastern shores of Ukraine. This fascinating region offers superb summer vacation resorts, blue waters and flourishing green mountains.
In Crimea, the average water temperature ranges between 22-25°C (72F-78F) during summer. Although you may not find a surf shop in every corner, it's definitely one of the best places to find waves in Ukraine.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea has stunning beaches located in the eastern part of the southern coast. Yalta, Alushta, Sudak and Feodosiya are facing Russia and Georgia, their Black Sea neighbours.
A good alternative to the rare swells of the Black Sea is the western shores of Crimea - Eupatoria and Saki may provide waves, from time to time.
The unobtrusive Sea of Azov must be mentioned. It's the shallowest sea in the world, with a depth ranging between 0.9 metres (2'11'') and 14 metres (46'). But there's potential for surfing in the area. No doubt about that.
Local winds produce frequent storms, with waves reaching six metres (20 feet) in the Taganrog Bay, two-to-four meters (6'-13') near the southern shores, and one meter in the Kerch Strait.
The Sea of Azov is usually home to windsurfers and kiteboarders, but as long as wind swell produces coastal waves, everybody's happy.
Finally, let's not forget the main coast. In Odesa, the third largest city in Ukraine, there are two of the best surf spots in the country. And it can get crowded, every time waves arrive.
Arcadia Beach is the most popular beach in Odesa. The sand break is probably the "capital" of Ukrainian surfing. With favorable southwest wind swells, you'll have fun in longer boards. Remember, you're in Ukraine.
Kometa is a reef break located near Illichivsk, a small town located in the Odesa province. If it's pumping you won't get all the waves for yourself, but you'll end up with a smile on your face. Yes, you've surfed in Ukraine.