I toss to the side of the bed and light up my phone - 3:45, “yes” I think, “15 more minutes”. The next instant the phone starts ringing, I think its the alarm but it’s Phil calling to see where I am. I look at the time as I’m talking to Phil and it reads 5:32, “Oh shit” I think then shout to Phil, “umm ok, I’ll be at your place in 30min”. I do the math while still on the phone and tell him there’s no way we can make the 6:30 ferry. Winter Surfing in Canada…The Journey is Half the Fun | Unofficial Networks

Winter Surfing in Canada...The Journey is Half the Fun

surfing sombrio

Winter Surfing in Canada...The Journey is Half the Fun

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Winter Surfing in Canada...The Journey is Half the Fun

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surfing sombrio

by Devin Montgomery

“5.4mm wetsuit, hood, booties and gloves defended the warmth we need to survive but I’ve never felt so dependent on a piece of equipment.”

surfing Sombrio

I toss to the side of the bed and light up my phone – 3:45, “yes” I think, “15 more minutes”. The next instant the phone starts ringing, I think its the alarm but it’s Phil calling to see where I am. I look at the time as I’m talking to Phil and it reads 5:32, “Oh shit” I think then shout to Phil, “umm ok, I’ll be at your place in 30min”. I do the math while still on the phone and tell him there’s no way we can make the 6:30 ferry. He goes back to bed and I pack the van. I make it to his place at 7 then whip down to Horseshoe Bay and make the 8:30 ferry.

surfing Sombrio

We arrive to a sunny Nanamio then continue on to Victoria. At 11:30 we meet up with a very hung-over Sammy and the three of us push to Simbrio. After a stop for gas and another 2 hours of driving we make it to Jordan River, the swell is weak and we decide to go on. The winding coastal road is beautiful, the sun strobes through the passing trees and we catch glimpse of cabins being reclaimed by moss.

surfing Sombrio

It’s now 2pm as we park then start to walk down a portion of the Juan de Fuca trail. We are deflated and irritable from the drive and delays, but as we round a potion of the trail the crashing sunlit surf framed by overhanging greenery our mood shifts to excitement. We have totally forgot about the previous 8 hours and focus on suiting up.

surfing Sombrio

The sun shines, but the air temperature is no greater than 7 Celsius. We launch our boards and submerge ourselves in the 4 degree water. 5.4mm wetsuit, hood, booties and gloves defended the warmth we need to survive but I’ve never felt so dependent on a piece of equipment. As a wave slaps me in the face the shock re-assures my vulnerability, it feels so unnatural floating in this savage environment. We paddle out and wait to receive gifts of power.

surfing Sombrio

We see two other bodies in the water, one with a large white beard, he’s calling out with excitement as he catches wave after wave. We soon realize, with help from the other surfer, it’s Rivermouth Mike. The now 60 year-old Mike is a legend in Sombrio, arriving 30 years ago from his native North Carolina, he set-up a crude shelter and called the beach home until he was evicted in 1997. He returns almost everyday and surfs his waves till sunset.

More about Mike is available at www.factsandopinions.com 

 

Surfing Sombrio
After 3 hours we watch the beach go dark, we get out, change and make some tea for the mission home. We make the last ferry to Twawwassen and arrive back in Whistler at 1am. The long 15 hour expedition for 3 hours in the water was well worth it.

Surfing Sombrio

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