Just Passing Through Canada with Anna Ehrgott
Paradise doesn't always have palm trees. If you're wondering where the last remaining surfing frontiers are, chances are you'll need a really thick wetsuit, a boat or some serious courage. For me, the thick wetsuit option seemed the most plausible way to surf alone, enjoy the outdoors and not endanger myself more than I need to.
Packing for the north requires a little more thought than the average bikini/board shorts kinda surf trip. I packed up warm layers, thick socks, closed-toe Reef shoes, camping gear, a couple boards and heaps of neoprene for my trip to BC, Canada.
Harsher environments are fascinating. The tropics are relaxing and easy going, but deserts and the cold have my heart. Why? Because you appreciate everything. A two foot clean wave? Out there. Warm tea? Heaven sent. Nice weather? Euphoric.
I came to an island chain parallel to Alaska with zero idea of wave setups or getting around. My friend/photographer, Alec McKeand and I rented a van, and started driving to the part of the island that would seem to face open ocean. After coming to landslides, a couple coves with peely waves and several bald eagle sightings we found the north western coast. We surfed, camped and hiked all with Alaska in view, smiles on our faces and a bone chill we never seemed to shake.
Surfing alone requires more intention, a deeper understanding of weather, and how to position yourself and find the peak of the wave without having other people as a reference point. Silence felt so foreign. The only company we found was in bears, 23 eagles and distant orca whales. I have zero complaints.
Generally late summer/fall is the best bet for mild weather and clean waves in Canada. That said, it's still best to plan a longer trip to cushion for surf days lost to poor weather or conditions. Getting tips from locals can be invaluable and saves time from trying to navigate tides and swell directions. Roll with the punches. It'll get cold, windy, and look like victory at sea at times, but when the stars align, the north has some of the best surf setups and beautiful backdrops imaginable.