Enjoyed looking through your pictures and stuff, made me remember how much fun I'd had on
Vancouver Island years ago. Canada is like a metaphor for me when I look back. My best
friend Matt moved to B.C. in 1970. His dad owned a trailer park in Florida and some nut that
lived behind him started shooting a gun in his back yard, so he loaded them up in the Airstream
trailer and headed for the NW. I got invited and joined them on a few trips to Wreck Bay. I
was totally amazed by all these people living in the driftwood. We walked down the beach on
our first night there. Under a canopy of starlite we visited with the squatters, ate octopus, and
took hours to get back to the van. PS from Cam
We laughed when we passed Spot J, 'cause they said there were good waves there in the
winter. How could you get waves in a set-up like that, I thought. I thought it was a joke. I
found Mat again in 1982. He'd spent his first winter at Spot J, surfing, sitting in the sauna, and
helped to bring timbers down to build a cabin.
He told me about a surf trip the previous year with some mutual friends, Greg and Chris. It
was spring and it was raining, and the three of them were stuck in one tent for three days.
Chris was a vegetarian and swore up and down his farts didn't stink, but there was something
in the tent that made them want to move on and go exploring. Eventually they found
themselves at the end of a road , watching tiny waves break across a small bay. It was on a
Native reserve near [can't tell], at the western end of the beach, right where the [can't tell]
River empties out. They spent the night, and the next morning watching these tiny waves
breaking. Feeling desperate and somewhat skunked, Matt paddled out to fool around. Guess
what? From the shore there was no perspective to judge the size. Douglas Fir alongside the
cliffs were massively tall and the waves were breaking far enough out to create this ankle
snapper illusion. The river mouth had built up a gravel sandbar which focused a nice wedge
for take-off while the rest of the wave stretched out taut across the bay. You knew it would
close out, it stretched so far, but it never did.
This year it was my turn to go. I've surfed Oregon for a decade and have never surfed waves
as good as the ones we found there. It was like sitting in an alpine lake. We
never believed waves could even break there. The sets came slowly and during the lulls, our
disbelief would return. We'd be back sitting on that flat lake until the next set came through.
It was so good we thought to take pictures. For the next six years I'd go up in a VW bus,
with a friend, for a week during spring break, but the conditions never combined themselves
properly to give us another session on that wave. We were told later that a long drought had
allowed that gravel bar to form at the river mouth.
PS from Cam After taking control of this beach and others the National Parks evicted hundreds of squaters. There was only a handfull of holdouts, dodging the Warden service when I moved to the Island in 1974.