It was totally unexpected when I was asked to join the Stohlquist Canada Pro Team. I knew many of the current members of the team and knew they were excellent paddlers and great ambassadors. I also knew there were a bunch of highly skilled, capable and active paddlers right here on the East Coast. That being said, it didn’t require much thinking and the obvious answer was YES! I was immediately excited about the opportunity and then I came to learn I would be able to take part in a team event on the West Coast in the picturesque Tofino, British Columbia.
I was able to spend four days on the Wild West Coast living in a beach house and playing in some amazing Pacific Coast swell with a crew of incredible paddlers. I was excited to not only get on the water in February (while the little province of PEI was locked in ice), but to be able to watch and learn from some world-class surfers. It was a great opportunity to spend four days with everyone and get to know each other and learn from some of the best.
We were lucky to have fellow team member and photographer join us for the event, Kevin Light. He proved to be not only talented, but quite hardy, and seemed to thrive getting thrashed around in the surf zone and staying in the water for hours on end to get the right shot. Oh, yeah…did I mention Kevin is also an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Monday morning rolled around and we were leaving late that morning. When I woke up I could feel the seven previous surf sessions and my muscles were aching. However, when Santiago Berrueta asked if I was up for a surf, how could I say no. It was a beautiful morning and the surf was up.
The event was an incredible experience and perfect way to get to know the rest of the team. I am already looking forward to the next time I get to paddle with these guys. Upon my return I was happy to see it was recently announced that one of Kevin Light’s photos from the event was selected as the cover of Ocean Paddler Magazine. I remember that evening walking back to the beach house with fellow team member Lee Richardson. The perfect bookend to an epic trip!