I knew these characteristics well, the smooth green water rising gently before traversing sideways with a dull thud and receding from view. Searching for waves by boat challenges your judgement of what could be surfable and what should be left alone - especially on a possibly unsurfed and wildly inaccessible stretch of coast, typical of northern Vancouver Island. On top of that, we were in kayaks, at least 10 hours of paddling to a truck at the end of a remote logging road which would still be hours away from any form of aid.
My paddle strokes quickened, impeded slightly by the surfboard I was towing which would rhythmically catch and drag in the troughs of a following 2 meter ground swell, then spring forward when released. The green backs of the waves rose and fell in languid succession, groomed by the thick bed of bull kelp. My anxiousness grew. We had been surfing a small, fun beach break in front of our camp for the past few days, but the swell was hampered by a string of off shore reefs. Reefs which had piqued my interest months before for the potential slabs they may be concealing.
Had we finally found what we had come all this way for? Was the tide right? Was there enough swell? Maybe too much? Or worse, was this just a mirage full of false hope and excessive expectations? Strings of questions battered my mind as I paddled ever closer to the answer.
I pulled my camera out of the dry bag strapped to the deck of my kayak as a mound of energy from deep in the Pacific grew larger, fueled by the water it was thirstily sucking off the slab of reef. Filling its walls to the point of bursting, the glassy face hung in the air and spilled over top of itself in a liquid symphony of precise movements refined over centuries of storms. Another wave followed, executing the same rehearsed exercise. It was perfect! I had nearly jumped out of my boat at that point, but with the physical impossibility of dawning a wetsuit in a kayak, we had the added challenge of finding a safe place to land on this desolate, wave ravaged island.
- September 2013