Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Exploring the Globe with Ian Battrick, Canadian Wilderness Wave

This was the third year in a row now that I have been back to camp out, with two friends, infront of a perfect wave we know about deep into the Canadian wilderness. Another of our Canadian friends found it some years ago, and he goes out by his boat to surf it whenever it looks as if it will be good. For us though this is both costly, and time consuming, so my two friends and I decide to just camp there and immerse ourselves in this beautiful, wild natural area, and the wave for a month at a time. It also ensures we dont miss a thing.

The wave itself is very fickle,(tide, wind, swell direction and size dependent) but on its day it can be flawlessly perfect barrel without a soul around! So well worth the wait, which could be a week at a time in between brutal weather and conditions. If the wave was located in any civilized area people would be all over it every daylight hour it breaks. Very luckily it is located in one of those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed. You can only acess the area by boat, there an no roads, towns, civilization, or even phone reception for miles around…….you really are way out there. If you get hurt, that is it, we have to deal with it ourselves and wait til our friend with the boat comes back on the day we agreed to be picked up on. So we stock up for a months worth of supplies and get dropped off by boat with everything we think we need to survive the month.

Daily we would have a number of different bears hanging around the vicinity, the reef, the river and even walking through our camp as they liked. Being the third year out here now we are pretty relaxed and at home with the bears, after all it is their territory, we are just guests. You tend to just treat it as oh theres a bear walking through our camp, and you will know which one he is and have a name for him. They are all individual characters once you get to know them, and there is plenty of time for that.
This last trip we sighted quite a few cougars/mountain lions too, all around the woods and scouring the reef. Once you are away from the dangers onland you then have sealions, killer whales and the dangerously shallow wave to contend with.

This year on the 14th day of a 6 week trip out there, we were out surfing for the day and came back to our tents/camp to find bears had devoured our entire food supply for the remaining 4weeks. Even tucking into tinned cans, surfboards, petrol cannisters, climbing the trees and eating into dry bags tied up, dangling in mid air, high up off the ends of branches. So for the last 4 weeks we mainly lived off fishing(Plus the salmon run was taking place up a river near by. At one point in the trip we were regularly catching salmon with our bare hands whilst they jumped upstream. ), gooseneck barnacles and drank river water. No big deal when you are getting to surf perfect waves alone.

A priceless, mind-blowing experience, good times with good friends, and its always great to be away from daily life, people, cars, phones, contact, civilization – getting back to basics, just living to survive and surf.

Photo by the brilliantly talented - Tim Nunn