All Photos: Scotty Sherin
This winter, 18-year-old Kevin Schulz of San Clemente, CA, took a trip to Canada. By himself. Just to experience it. We need more kids like this. Below is his story, above are some photos. Enjoy.
Canada. Syrup, snow, bears, hockey — and some of the best pointbreak setups in the world. I caught word of a swell and decided to do a little solo mission up that way. I packed my 6/5 and 8mm boots, threw some snow jackets into my board bag and called it good. It was weird flying into an airport with snow on the runway, knowing I was there to surf. I almost wondered if I'd made a bad call. But any doubt was squashed when I was greeted by Scotty Sherin, his girlfriend Kate and their dog. Scotty is a local photographer and a damn good one, too. I met him back in California when he was interning for SURFING and we quickly became good friends. On the car ride back to his house, he kept telling me how amped I would be when I saw the waves and how much different it was than anywhere else in the world.
We woke up the next morning, drove through some snow, over a few rivers, across frozen lakes and finally arrived at one of the best left-handers I’ve ever seen. I nearly kicked Scotty's car window out of sheer excitement. Peeling like a reverse Rincon, but longer, more desolate and much, much colder than the Queen could ever be. It isn’t too fun to put a wetsuit on when the air is below freezing, but the best wave of my life was going unridden in front of me and a little nip wasn't going to slow me down. Zip-snap-strap, I was out there.
The first duck dive was a shock. I forgot how cold the water was and I felt like I was going to barf. It didn't matter that I had the hood on; it still stunned me with an ice cream headache. The water was colder than the ice cubes sitting in your freezer right now. My first wave was a shock, too. With all the rubber, doing a bottom turn felt more like a workout than a fluid motion. But I warmed up to it, so to speak.
That session ended up being one of the best of my life. Not because I had a career surf and not because I nailed a shot or bagged an A+ clip, but because I experienced something I'd never felt before.
Canada was magical for me; it was so extreme that it seemed surreal. For the next eight days, I kept arriving at a level of stoke that I didn't even think existed. Good waves and good vibes continued to flow and it wound up being the best trip of my life, period. It was hard to say goodbye — those pointbreaks are addicting and the reefs will always whisper my name. But I’ll be back soon…very, very soon. A special thanks to Scotty and Kate for the hospitality. Oh, Canada. You did me well. —Kevin Schulz