In the spirit of ski premiers in September and pre-season bike films that are released while there is still snow on the ground, I have a vision…a vision of an event that melts the snow and bursts open the summer season with a barrage of art and culture – and of course, gear – to celebrate the emerging mountain surf culture that created Street To Peak Street, Surf and Snow. It is here, it is now, it is real and it has solidified in the crossing of brands and culture that landed ‘surf’ in the name.
It’s what we all want isn’t it? To surf? From the tagged out graphitti punks skating on concrete masses, to remote shore break surfers on the other side of mountain passes and ferry rides, to the rest of us waiting for the white room to open between the seasons on snow covered peaks, from Saskatoon, to Whistler, to Cox Bay…we all want to surf or at the very least let people know we want to.
Imagine a sunny April morning…breakfast with a view of the fishing boats, you’re in great shape because the local last call was at 11:30pm last night (at both bars), forget the boardies, you layer on long pants, hoods and beanies to cheat the morning chill, scrape the frost off the windows (yep…frost) and head out to find some waves with a local guide and spend few hours in the water off the West Coast paddling the entire time to keep the current from washing you out to Japan or worse up to Alaska. The reality sets in quickly that 50 degrees is damn cold and those waves are setting up faster than the average mainlander can paddle out in a 5/4/3 with a full hood, booties and gloves just to stay one step ahead of hypothermia and duck dive the 9 foot long board you need to even think about getting topside but the moment you catch that first wave…what can I say?
Meanwhile, after four or five days of solid snow fall and the announcement Whistler Blackcomb is opening two weeks early the dream of making the trek west and getting out on the water one more day is over and what could be closer to the source than floating down the frozen wave on a pow day? Granted, the mountain surf dichotomy has been beaten by the snow industry, and vise versa, and philosophized in countless articles and books (re. Surfing the Himalaya…fyi, don’t bother reading it) but truly, after a lifetime in these mountains and more than the last dozen here in Whistler I know with every cosmic sense and see daily through my door that the people of the mountians are not just drawn to the waves of Chili Thom, Dakine Hawaii T’s, Patagonia wetsuits (rumor has it they exist), OluKai sandals of Maui and let’s not forget the Arbor Kelly Slater Series Koa wood long-boards…where was I? They are not just drawn, they are defined.
As constant as time and tide, we are a people who seek to be one with the ever fluid surface beneath our feet….what ever it is. If only for those stolen, sometimes lost, instantaneous and best of all frequently unconscious moments there we are free. Free from desks and computers and counting floats and pounding nails and crying babies, or whatever more meaningful occupations absorb our every day. It is the weightless immeasurable between turns when we exhale and the moment of no return over a cliff band before landing inevitably becomes our primary source of survival, the joy of bombing down the fresh pavement of our Olympic dream parking lot on a longboard, catching a wave, and I even suspect, admittedly not having ever been on a stand up paddle board, the moments between paddle strokes on the lake where nature and the sheer momentum of your own force meet the invisible joy of life unbound and simply flow…