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Monday, December 26, 2011

Let's go surfing now!



The Pacific Rim is a place like no other.  The scenery is breathtaking from Tofino to Ucluelet, BC.  It’s a place to see pristine wilderness, natural reserves, sandy beaches, biosphere reserves and the Pacific Ocean.  Family friendly activities include hiking the Wild Pacific Trailand watching waves crash on the rocks.  Or stroll along Chesterman Beach collecting shells and count clam holes.  But what about surfing?  Say the word surfing and images of young long hair guys hanging ten off the surf board come to mind.  All driving boogie vans of course.  Not true when it comes to Tofino, BC.  Sure, there are a few of these guys hanging around, but there are also girls. They drive the pink boogie vans.  Its not just young people either; surfers riding the waves are my age!  However there is an age group missing.  What about the 2 – 6 year olds?  Maybe it is time to put all my preconceived thoughts aside.

When going surfing was first mentioned, three voices started screaming in my head.  Mom voice, uncomfortable voice and adventurous voice.  Mom voice started imagining the kids being swept away by a 30 foot wave.  Crying because salt water is stinging their eyes.  How are they going to stay warm?  Then the uncomfortable voice interrupts.  How am I going to stay warm?  I don’t want my eyes to sting nor do I want to taste the salt water.  Exactly how am I going to be comfortable in the skin tight neoprene dry suit?  Never mind that, how I am going to look!  As always the adventurous voice pips up, louder than the other two.  Am I going to sit at home and wonder what could have been or am I going to get my butt out there and show my kids that this world is full of adventure.  I could listen to these voices debate the issue and never reach a decision.  Thankfully the “better half” voice states “We all loaded up, let’s go!”  The adventure begins.  

It’s January, +5 (2010) and it a bit cloudy with 60% chance of rain.  We head to Long Beach Surf Shop and gear up.  Great place, friendly staff, and they worked fast to get us on our way.  All four of us are suited up in wetsuits complete with boots, gloves and hoods. The kids wiggled into theirs no trouble and were pretty excited to get to the beach.  Mom voice starts thinking how are bathroom breaks going to work?  Uncomfortable voice thinks the same and adventurous voice laughs.  I imagine it was quite the sight to see us strolling down the beach in our suits as most people were wearing raincoats, mitts, and toques.  There were a few strange looks but mostly smiles. 



Our plan was to spend the whole day there, rain or shine.  We filled a wheel barrel full of blankets, tarps, food, and gear to ensure we would last the day.  I am happy to report the day was a success.  The rain never happened, instead the clouds disappeared and the sun was out for the first time in 15 days.  We took turns between surfing and hanging out with the kids.  Adventurous voice was full of laughter and playful screams when the waves crashed against me.  Uncomfortable voice only mumbled when it was time to get the gear off, not an easy task.  When the kids swallowed too much water or had to go to the bathroom, Mom voice simply sighed.  

As the day went on, the only voice that made it to the end was the adventurous voice.  Salt did not sting my eyes but it did leave my hair and skin feeling great.  Stayed fairly warm and realized I looked like everyone else in a wetsuit.  No uncomfortable voice around here.  Kids survived the 30 foot waves (my imagination gets away on me sometimes) and did not get sucked out to sea.  I do recall a few complaints of being cold but what did I expect… it’s January!  Getting a little cold is not going to hurt them; clearly mom voice is long gone.  No use for that voice when they spend the entire day having a blast in the surf and sand.  Yep, it’s just me, adventurous voice and my family recanting stories about the big spills and who swallowed the most salt water.  Now when I hear the word surfing, I start smiling and think we are due for another family surf adventure.



Article was published in the June 2010 issue of Take 5 Magazine

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