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More rain, after the previous night’s golden hour I had hoped for a break in the rain but it was just as wet as the previous days, which had me thinking I should head further north to Tofino, a place many people told me I might not leave.  Though I couldn’t leave without at least checking the surf.


I walked out onto the beach to discuss the surf with a few guys standing, seemingly with the same predicament I often find myself in, is this the best spot working today? A few of them went out to dodge logs and practice bailing out in the shore break, while the idea of putting a cold wetsuit on kept me on land taking pictures. I look at those shots now and kick myself for not at least attempting to go out, but I was waiting for the magic that I had seen the evening before.

 

For more on Port Renfrew, check out this spot report. 
The magic hour never happened but whilst we were standing around waiting I cracked open a few FullSail OctoberFests to share with the shorebreak guys and set about to getting to know them. The four were on a week’s surf trip to the island, staying at a friends off the grid, log cabin. They made the perfect surf crew. Nick had been surfing for years and offered up some great camera fodder. Mike was a long boarder providing endless entertainment and proving almost any wave is surfable.  Taylor was the “Grom” and just decided to pick up surfing as he’d booked a one way ticket to Indo and figured he might as well get learning, he also filled the spot of photographer for the crew. It is always useful to have a newbie around if you don’t have a photographer in your crew. While Dustin rounded out the crew, giving me the perfect description of the wave at China beach, “It is like
playing with a monster, you are going to tossed around a lot, but every now and then it’ll let you give it a little tickle under the chin. It might only happen one out of ten, maybe tweleve times, but when it does it is pure magic.”

 

A couple of beers turned into a lot of beer back at the cabin and the night disappeared into a foggy blur of surf stories and laughter. Waking up to my dinner staring up at me from the ground outside the van was testament
as to how foggy the night had gotten. Soon we were all wishing we had gone a little easier on the booze when we saw the surf at Jordan River. The current was insane, but if you knew where to get in at the river mouth you could be carried out with the current and dropped right into the wave. It is all about timing, if you under shot you would end up on the beach around the corner or on the rocks at the point, if you over shot you ended up out past the break paddling against the current to get back in before heading out into the straights. We peaked too soon though and by the time the waves really turned on at low tide we just didn’t have the arms for it. It suited me as the light began to pop and there were some decent surfers in the water to provide some delightful images.


The days merged into one boozy, blurry mix. Surf stories changed from the ones we’d written in the past to the ones we were writing now. Before we knew it, we were out of recreational pharmaceuticals and had to hand back the keys to the cabin. The previous day’s foray with the monster of China Beach had left us all wanting more. So an unbelievable deal was found on the Taj Mahal esque hotel in Sook and we collapsed in luxury in anticipation of what the monster might be up to the next morning.


A pre dawn wakeup found us at the beach around that time when the morning light should be slowly warming the world from its slumber, but instead all we got was dull neither day nor dark. The waves seemed to reflect this mood and just didn’t come to life the way they had the day before. Maybe even the monster had tired out?  But every now and then, as if to jostle us, it’d give a grumble and show signs of what could be.

As we said goodbyes in Victoria and I headed to the ferry for Port Angeles, I began to wander if my border crossing this time was going to be something worthy of the Airline Boarders program our weary bodies had collapsed in front of the night before.

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