Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Boxing Day Lake Superior Surf Mission

After getting home from an extremely long drive on Christmas Day, and having a family dinner, at which I consumed a more than a few beverages, I went to bed with surfing on my mind. It was a short sleep. About 5 hours, but I had to get up early and get fully unpacked before Mike and I went to meet  Jaakko and Zegil at a Tim's just off the highway. So, at 5:30 in the morning I was out unloading my uber packed truck and re-packing it with just as much surf gear. I immediately ran into a problem with my unpacking though, as soon as I looked out side there was my sled sitting nicely in the back of my pick up. Well there was no way in hell I was pushing it behind my house, leaving me with the only other option of starting it up that early in the morning, next door neighbours sleeping and all. I quietly pushed it out of the box and turned it around to face the right direction. Then came the moment of truth, I timidly pulled the handle to start it up (about as timidly as you can start something up that sounds like it's going to end the world), jumped on to it and gassed it behind the house. Luckily no one woke up, including Pauly (my dad). After that it was off to Tim's where we met Jaakko, and found out Zegil slept in because he was hoping we were kidding about surfing and wanted a ride from his house.

Once we picked the "broski supreme" known affectionately as "Ty" (aka Zegil), we took off on the 200 km drive NE to Terrace Bay. We caught up and joked around the whole way. The drive was nice and scenic with the usual amazing views of Lake Superior that you get driving that particular highway. Once we got to Terrace it was a quick check on the beaches to find out which one to assault and then it was wet suit time. It was so nice to get back in the water and the waves were big enough for my short board which meant I got to finally use my Go Pro surfing. Once in the water I gave a few pointers to Zegil and Mike then paddled out with them in tow. The waves were actually really weird, most of the big sets were closing out on the sand bar, so they were super hard to ride. Had they been smaller they wouldn't have closed out and had they been bigger they would have broken deeper. Jaakko and I waited way out past the break for those elusive waves that would come in every 15 to 20 (at least it felt like it) or so minutes. At times Jaakko would wait in this zen like state so far out it seemed like he was looking for rogues. After catching 4 waves in about an hour I decided it was time to go where the fun was. I paddled in grabbed a long board and went and joined Ty, Mike, Nichole and Michel (the latter of the two came into join us Michel fresh off a plane from the UK) who were playing in a sheltered smaller area. Jaakko soon followed suit and the next couple hours was awesome! We had lots of fun. We all got some nice rides, with Mike and Tyler being surprisingly good for how many times they've been out. We also all had some funny bails including; Ty and I finding ourselves in the impact zone of the biggest waves of the day, Mike getting thrown to the bottom of some waves from the top and lawn darting the sandbar, and my personal favorite Ty pulling off the hood on his wet suit only to have a wave give him the worst case of brain freeze ever.

Eventually our arms got tired and it was time to leave. And just in time for us to get out of our wet wet suits (the worst part of winter surfing) the temps dropped and the wind picked up. Nothing feels better on your wet man parts then a 30-40 kph wind an outside air temp of -5.  It was arduous. All packed up we left and drove back to T Bay

(In this picture is the world ending above me while I try to duck dive that "biggest" wave of the day that caught Ty and I off guard)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Semi Annual Migration

Satureday, December 24 th at about 4:00 PM I left Calgary, to head back to my homeland of Thunder Bay. I was originally going to leave on the Friday but stuff happened and I left late as usual. The first part of the drive was super uneventful minus one gas station apparently didn't want sell me gas. Driving through the prairies is agonizingly boring (wish I could just teleport through them) and surprisingly I managed to make it to with in 3 1/2 hours of Thunder Bay before I had to take my first nap on the 21 hour drive. It was once I got to the Ontario/Manitoba boarder that conditions got crappy, and the drive got sketchy. It was a mix of snow, ice and moose, that made driving extremely difficult and led to my having to pull over for some sleep. I managed to make it back to Thunder Bay around 4ish Christmas Day and was able to open some presents.

In this picture is my truck packed with awesome things I own. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Getting The Sled Out

On the first weekend of December, with a couple of cold days and some snow, winter was looking good for at least that week. So, I changed my spark plugs, drained out my old gas and loaded my snowmobile into my truck. Both Saturday and Sunday I went out to Cateract Creek about an hour from my house. It was good to get out! I hit some natural jumps, practiced some carving in minimal snow and even got to ride a little powder (thought there was pretty much no base). It was a good weekend and I tried to get out again the next week but by then the winter we were meant to have this year moved in, and started a long drought with warm temperatures.

In this pic is my sled covered in some snow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

30 Hours Of Driving, 16 Hours Of Surfing, 3.5 Days

The day of the trip actually started the night before. At 1:30 am I was woken up by the cops calling my roomate looking for me to tell me my truck was broken into. I came outside to see that someone had sprayed sunscreen all over my truck, and to find out all my camera gear as well as all the footage was stolen. I was up until 4:30 filling out a police report, needless to say not the best preperation for the up coming 15 hour drive I was supposed to do. When I woke the next day I was seriously bummed out, and didn't even feel like going, even though I knew I would make me feel better. To make matters worse Audrey had a super hard exam and was down and out just like me, but we both ended up getting pissed off at our situation and just saying "F**k it", and we left.

It was 6:00 pm on the Friday, and Audrey and I finally started our drive her parents brand new CRV (they were super nice letting us take it) packed to the gillds with surf gear. Almost right away the drive started sucking. As soon as we hit the mountains it was snowing (the fall made the winter look like it was going to be epic what happend?), dark and windy. Audrey drove until we hit the Can/Us border, and after we were cleared I switched. The driving dragged on not hitting divided highway (the I 90) for another few hours and three states (Montana, Idaho and Washignton). Once we hit I 90 the driving was alot better and Audrey took over one more time getting us to Snoqualamie Pass, where we had to pass out until the gas station opened in the morning. After waking up and getting gas I took us the rest of the way to Westport, Wa.

We pulled up to the ocean and got out of the car to run excietedly down to the water. Suddenly we weren't tired or sore from having driven 15 hours through the night. The waves were bigger then predicted, about 6 to 9 feet instead of 2 to 3. We jumped back into the car, rushed to the hotel, checked in, tossed on the wet suits and drove back to one of the beaches. With the other two spots there not working we went to surf the beach break there. With it being our first day in awhile I actually kinda wished it had been smaller, just to get back into the swing of things. It was a rough go, neither of us had the arms to beat the directly incoming swell, so we stayed close to the peer and ducked bigger waves waiting to catch the small ones that would sneak through into shallower water. We got some nice waves and I finally was able to drop in heel side! After surfing we went for a walk around the marina watching a group of guys fish off the docks while sea lions tried to eat the fish off their lines, followed freshly caught fish at a local restraunt.

The next day was BIG. 16 feet big according to the surf report. It was crazy, I've never seen waves that big. We started our day off by just watching. It was awesome to watch some of the good surfers surf the epic point break right out side our hotel. After about an hour of that we jumped in the car and spent several hours driving from spot to spot to see if there was anything we would be able to surf. We finally decided on the miles of mush that was the beach break that day. It was super fun and we were able to get some really nice reform. It basically consisted of waiting in chest deep water for an opening, then paddling super hard while eyeing up a place to turn around and with out a stop in paddling turn and grab the wave. It was pretty tiring but, we didn't even feel it. I managed to catch some really nice relatively long rides and Audrey looked like she'd been surfing for a couple years even though she has less than 15 days under her belt. After a few hours Audrey took a pretty decent wave on the head and lost a contact. That coupled with hunger and tiredness, we decided to call it and jumped out of the water. Once out of our suits we jumped into the car and went for lunch and to check out the local surf shops. After lunch we went back to the hotel and I couldn't help but jump over the rock wall and look at the point break. It had settled down a little bit and even though it looked like there was a strong current I figured I could jump in and grab a few waves. I ran back to the room, grabbed my board and suited up. Upon getting in the water, I got my first taste of how strong that current really was. At waist deep it was knocking me off my feet and feircly trying to pull me into the rock wall of the jetty. It was one of the strongest currents I have surfed in, it felt like a fast moving river. Now most people who aren't experts, who's arms are burnt out and who rarely get to surf anymore may have decided to not try and paddle out, but because I'm me and I would like to think I'm pretty awesome I did anyways. I paddled as hard as I could, stopping only to duck dive the fairly large waves coming in. I could tell I was not gaining much ground and I was fully in the current. I started to get this feeling that I was in trouble, so I stopped paddling to check where I was, and to my horror I was about 20 feet from getting pounded into the rock wall of the jetty! Quickly I spotted a wave I was in semi position for and managed to grab it and get the heck out of there. After a few more failed attempts to get out at that spot, I threw in the towel and Audrey and I went for dinner and some more exploring of the town.      

The next morning I jumped into my wet suit and went and surfed the now much more tame point break. It was sick, there was no wind the waves were glassy and the current was almost gone. Audrey slept in a little bit then packed the car for us. It was getting time to go, so I quickly surfed a few more "I'm not going to be able to surf for 6 more months" waves, then got out to make the arduous drive back. The drive home was not very exciting other then getting stopped for construction for 3 hours and breifly by the police for a warning about a potential traffic violation. We got home at 3 am and I had work at 6. It was a lot of driving for a small amount of surf but it was a totally awesome roadie!

In the picture above I'm getting ready to enter the water to surf the point break at the edge of out hotel parking lot. Audrey took the picture from a rock.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Starting to post again!

So it has been awhile since I have posted and now it is time to start again.

Right after I last posted my truck was broken into and all my camera gear and associated media was stolen, which really sucked. Some time has passed and I have acquired some new camera gear and I rounded up some media, so I will now begin posting where I last left off.