Ice berg 'surfer' goes with the floe

Apr 10, 2018

Andrew Malone passes under the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge on the Kenai River atop one of many ice bergs he's been riding lately as break-up arrives in the Central Peninsula.
Credit Andrew Malone

  Saying the season for ice berg surfing only lasts three days or so, one young man has been raising eyebrows along the Kenai River between Soldotna and Kenai. 

Andrew Malone of Soldotna said he’s been riding the ice floes on the Kenai for four years, and he says people stop and take pictures and wave. Sometimes, like on Thursday, someone calls 911 thinking he’s being swept out to sea. But, as you may have read in the Clarion, CES responders were familiar with Malone and his impromptu float trips.

For a trip on Saturday afternoon, his second of the day, Malone said it took several ice bergs to make the trip.

“I rode a berg from Soldotna Creek Park all the way down to the Kenai Bridge yesterday. I set foot on three different pieces of ice along the journey. Sometimes you get hung up on a large rock and you have to be patient. All the other chunks of ice are riding the same current you’re going, so.”

The 28-year-old Malone treats the ice bergs more like rafts than paddle boards when he’s on them, he said.

“What I take is a 16-foot PVC pipe that I sharpen down on one side and figure out the depth of water and lock it in. And I bow it out like a bow and arrow and that way I don’t have to put any more effort to moving around. Eventually it’ll straighten back out and I’ll find a spot again to shimmy me from one side of the river to the other.”

Malone said he called CES in advance of his rides this weekend, something CES Captain Joshua Thompson was quoted in the Clarion Friday asking folks to do if they’re going to “do something crazy.” Like float down the river on an ice berg.