Surfing Vancouver Island  

Spot N in March  


surfing photos and stories from Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia, Canada Well...
it was the first Saturday in March and Tai and I had just made the three hour drive from Ladysmith to the west side of the Island. We checked [spot L]. There was a nice shoulder high wave breaking on the sand bar. It peeled both ways with a symmetry and ascetic beauty that belongs in a Coppola movie. My face flushed and I felt the air filling my lungs. How can this be. The buoy had been reading onshore winds 15 to 40 knots. It had been blown out all week and here was this vision surrounded by a calm sea. Over beside Rock 17 it was about one and a half times overhead, but to get there I would have to walk past this wave that I was already developing a relationship with, and that was never going to happen.

I had a nervous thought. I had to go up the road to a surf shop before we got wet. Would this new love in my life wait for me, or would she leave with the first breeze that happened by. I spoke out loud and broke the spell. "Tai, do we go up to the shop first or do we go right in?" I cannot tell you on what authority he spoke, but he assured me the wave would be there when we returned. Off we drove, 10 km up the road to buy a pair of leashes to secure my fins to me.

Yes fins.
Fear not friends. I have not strayed from the domain of the "stanups" and fallen in to that dark foreboding realm of "prone spongers". I found a used nikonos IV-A at a price I could almost afford and decided to put it and my melon in harms way, and get some pics.

Leashes (or whatever these things are called) in hand we made a quick check of Spot N. As we pulled off the road I asked a surfer who was emerging from the trail "how is it". He gave me a hard unfriendly look and snapped "Flat and cold. Not even worth putting my f#*!$g suit on". As he passed the van window he leaned in. The terse look became a broad, friendly smile and he gushed "It's a little mushy at the end of the ride but it's a fun day out there. I've seen it better, but not for some time.

surfing stories and pictures from Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia, Canada

We went down the trail in one of those "we're too old and dignified to run but we're too excited to stroll" gaits. There was maybe fifteen guys out sitting on a calm ocean. The wind was kicking up and I could see white water off the point and out past the lineup, but four hundred feet off shore where these guys sat, there was nearly no chop. I was bent over putting on my fins, and attaching my camera lanyard when Tai yelped look. The wave was as pretty as any I have ever seen, well overhead, slowly breaking in a few spots, and had to be two hundred and fifty feet long.
surfing photos and stories from Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia, Canada

Seven guys popped up on it. Three of them worked it nearly to the shore. We raced out. I could see the guys down our way looking me over as we approached. What's this boardless swimmer doing out here? I held the camera aloft and yelled "Mind if I take some Pictures?" The nearest one yelled sure, the next guy, Jason, wanted me to send him a copy, and a few guys beyond him threw their thumbs up, at least I think it was their thumbs. I kept out of the way, on this first photography session. The sky was quite dark, and I ended up with a lot of small dark silhouettes, but under the conditions I am happy as a clam with the results of my first foray into surf photography. The guys assure me they will surf right in on me next time. Jason yelled "What are the pictures for?"
"A home page on the internet" I replied. "Kewl" says Jason. "I got a longboard in the van you can use, you got to have some of this wave."
Although I had seen him out surfing, I had never talked to Jason before. "Thanks man, I have my board with me. Just have to play with this camera today." "Well" Jason quipped "You have got to be dedicated to pass up surfing today."

surfing stories and pictures from Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia, Canada What a great session. Everyone hooting and hollering. Broad smiles everywhere.

I love this Island and the laid back humanity of it's inhabitants. I had a great time surfing on Saturday, and I never had one run. The vibe out there was one of sheer joy and elation, and it was contagious and pervasive. No one escaped. We never thought to look at Spot L as we drove past on our way home. We were already full.

Smiling on the Island


Most of March the wind howled like a banshee. Once in a while it would drop and the waves were epic, or so I'm told. I seemed to be on the wrong side of the Island for most of these respites. Alt.surfing world surf days were rainy, windy, and cold with snow in the pass and even hail at sea level.

Saturday produced a more than double overhead at spot C which only a very few ventured out to. It was lightning fast and the rides were short. I tried snorkeling out to take some pics, but I could find no place to station myself. It was brutal and I effected a hasty retreat. I spent a short session in the shoreline soup wishing I was a better surfer.

surfing photos and stories from Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia, Canada

Sunday spot C shrunk to shoulder height and cleaned up a bit at times. The wind shifted widely through the day and there were a few good rides. Still cold and pouring rain, and you could feel the strength of the approaching storm. It was the kind of day when you know everyone out is a real surf slut.

Finaly the storm hit and blew us all ashore and home.

Waiting for the power to come back on









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