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July 31, 2006

By Dan Rubado. Learn more about Dan.

Hi guys,

I had an awesome 4-day getaway at Skookumchuck last week. I finally got the Super Star on a really big wave. We had some pretty large tides, too, with three days above 15 knots. I think I actually prefer tides closer to 14 knots though, because the bigger ones just leave the wave big and green and unsurfable for spud boats for a long time in the middle of the cycle.

Unable to rally any of the lame paddlers from the Portland area for a long weekend, I decided to drive up solo, which gnawed at my conscience and my wallet. I left Portland at 11 pm to arrive at the Horseshoe bay ferry terminal in time to get on the first morning ferry. I drove straight up to skook, ate some lunch, geared up, and paddled out to the wave. The first day was epic, as there were only about eight of us there and the wave was at an ideal tide of about 13.6 knots. At this level the peak tide creates a large, steep wave with a thin foam pile on top that periodically crashes. The best part is that the wave never entirely disappears mid-cycle, as it does at the higher levels. This generally set the tone for an awesome weekend of paddling. I was able to meet up with lots of cool people from all over North America, so it wasn’t an issue that I had come up alone.

I got some good big wave time in to practice some new school moves that you just can’t do at Spencer’s hole. I got my pistol flips figured out and was working on my clean back stabs and blunts. It was awesome to surf a spot where panams and helices just whipped around. Tube steak, the large curling wave further off-shore, formed for a while during the larger tides so I made the paddle out to that wave as well. It was a neat wave that you can ride diagonally as it tubes and crashes, but it was really inconsistent and hard to stay on. The problem with surfing the steak is that you can’t reach the eddy from the wave once you’re out there, forcing a skook ‘tour’ every time you attempt a surf. The tour is some interesting, turbulent, and swirly water that splashes around like waves in a bathtub. Some people say there’s giant whirlpools out there that will just swallow you right down, but I haven’t found that to be true at all. Sure there are some large whirlpools, but they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. The main annoyance is that it takes about 20 minutes to paddle back from a skook tour.

All in all it was a sick weekend of paddling. Skook is definitely one of the best waves around and I recommend it highly to everyone that enjoys surfing and is comfortable paddling big water. If the sound of the wave and throwing big air in your kayak isn’t enough, consider the beautiful setting on a sea water inlet among temperate rain forest and at the base of a neat looking mountain range. There is good camping, some awesome lakes to wash off the salt in, and the Back Eddy pub serves up some great burgers while their disgruntled waitress slams them down in front of you and curses anyone that annoys her. The rest of the Sunshine coast is very scenic and there are lots of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, or just being a tourist in the quaint town of Sechelt.

I have one photo from my trip that was sent to my by Canadian hot shot paddler Mark Basso. I also have quite a bit of video that I will assemble into a short clip and send out ASAP.

Hope things are good back east.

-Dan Rubado


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Dan – Airblunt at Skook – by Mark Basso