Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba didn’t naturally lend itself to developing a passion for what would become one of my favourite ways to enjoy the outdoors. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in a family who loved the mountains, going on family ski trips from a young age, which created so many unique memories I will be forever grateful for. Early mornings, eating oatmeal, getting geared up for a day on the slopes, all built anticipation for an awesome day on the slopes, especially those fresh powder days that any mountain junky lives for. There was another key experience which played a pivotal role in my journey.
Our family travelled to Maui when I was 8 years old, and I experienced the beauty of the ocean for the first time. I vividly remember the crystal blue waters and amazing beaches. We rented buggy boards for a few days, and had a blast playing in the surf. A storm had been brewing in the distance bringing in some big surf, a memory clearly imprinted in my mind. I took the first wave of the set and got dumped in the powerful surf, after going through the spin cycle I finally surfaced, almost out of air, just in time to get one quick breath before taking the next two waves on the head. I remember being terrified while getting tossed around like a rag doll, but at the same time, I loved it, probably because I’m an adrenaline junkie. I was in awe of the brute force of the ocean, which I felt again when we visited a surf spot on the island, where the waves were much bigger than where we were. Yet again, I stood in awe of the incredible force and rugged beauty of nature. This was the beginning of a desire to try surfing, which lay dormant until I moved to the island. Looking back, I think these experiences led me to settle on the west coast many years later.
I started snowboarding when I was 12 years old on shitty hills (basically ditches if I’m honest), which allowed for park riding, but there is nothing compared to backcountry riding. With snowboarding being one of my passions, moving to BC brought me within a 2-hour drive of the local ski hill for weekend riding. Floating through fresh powder and slashing turns through the trees is both exhilarating and calming simultaneously. It’s difficult to put into words the incredible feeling of a sick powder day with a bunch of friends. I would say it is my meditation, clearing my mind and just experiencing the moment in all its glory.
After living a couple of years on the island, I finally got to try surfing for the first time when my family came out to visit. What made my first time surfing even better was my sister took lessons together. We walked into the water after a brief lesson on the beach, and I stood up on the very first wave I paddled for, I was hooked! Feeling the wave’s power (even though it was whitewash, an already broken wave) and harnessing that power to catch the wave, was incredible, and I felt a rush of excitement, grinning ear to ear. I had never experienced something quite like it.
I will never forget…. TO BE CONTINUED…..