Last night Tara and I crossed into the USA, thought not before we had an “EPIC” Surf Ski adventure.
I had just spent a day helping install the new amazing custom” ‘Yak Wagon” roof rack that now enables 16 x 7 feet of storage space on the roof of the bus, and after an evening paddle in Deep Cove North Vancouver, the day ended with a pleasant long sleep in the ‘Yak Wagon.
The next day, as I popped out of the bus to go find the amenities, I bumped into Bob Putnam, the owner of Deep Cove Outdoors and Canoe and Kayak Centre, and after a catch up, Tara and I were soon invited for a Downwind Surf ski Paddle....... We were supposed to cross the border today..... let me “Think” about a surf ski outing.... well traffic would probably be quite high between 3 – 8pm, so if we go paddle we could cross at 9pm lower traffic amount.... “OK Done! We are in!” I exclaimed. “now let me go tell Tara!”
The fun part here is that Tara had never been in a surf Ski before, both of us had not done down wind surf ski runs before, though we both had super strong cross over skills, so we were exited by the novelty of the idea. Earlier in the week, Tara had paddled a K1 racing kayak around the lake without falling in, so combined with her solid rough water expedition and white water paddling skills, she would be all good.
After visiting Deep cove to discuss TRAK kayaks, I confirmed with Bob we would come, and we loaded a ski on the Wagon and off we went to Porteu Cove, here we meet the rest of the crew we were paddling with, and they all had slight nervous doubt when Tara and I told them we had not paddled surf ski’s in conditions like this, and in Fact Tara and not used either a surf ski or a wing paddle before. Bob knowing the backgrounds of both Tara and I, had a kind off sly twinkle in his eye it seemed. Tara was a little nervous about it all, though I knew she would be fine and joked with her about it.
Soon we were on the water and it was so much fun, the speed, the surfing of waves, and water in the face, along with the challenge of a different vessel in advanced conditions, all added up to 2 hours of great fun. The biggest thing I learnt this day was to read the waves 2 -3 sets in front of you, in order to predict where to steer the ski in order to keep catching and staying on surf able waves. And by god it worked, a revelation for my skill set right there, awesome.
Charging up Howe sound hooting hollering, and ripping along in 3 foot wind waves with 35 knot winds at our backs we all to soon found ourselves in Squamish estuary, ducking and diving amongst the kite and wind surfers, to get into the harbour. Soaked head to toe with big smiles and aching muscles, we helped load up the ski’s and then it was off to have beer and pizza at the local brew pub. What a fun day and yet another paddle discipline I want to indulge in.
All to soon we were back on the road and heading for the border, and at 9.20 pm we walked in to immigration after reporting at the booth, and we were greeted, not with the expected surely USA immigration officers, but by some rather human, endearing and humorous individuals. It all seemed your usual routine, until our case officer left to get our passports from the booth officer, and while he was gone another officer made a comment that we were left standing at the altar by the priest. And soon it was all on, wise cracks flying left and right. The next target was my bus... “what are you .... errr driving .... some sort of .....err caravan?” asked the officer with some sort of bewilderment as he looked at the bus through security camera monitor showing it parked outside. “or is it a..... Bus?”
On telling him it was an ex well chair transporter, he smiled and stated cautiously “ I was going to say it was some sort of..... um.....some sort of.....” “oh man don’t say it” jibed the other security officer with a look of mischief”
Our case officer said “ I was going to say it looked like some sort of “Handicapped Enabled” vehicle!”
“OH MAN YOU SAID IT” laughed the other officer, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha....it is not that bad man, look it is a tour bus it even has marketing decals on it, it looks great really!” we all laughed at the truth of both realitys of what the ‘Yak wagon was and had become”. Tara had been processed and just as I was about to be processed, the whole system crashed... and soon came a whole bunch of new jokes followed by “ don’t joke about this stuff, we are supposed to be putting across an air of high tech surveillance, we are meant to have all this fancy CSI stuff our systems don’t crash” followed by some more chuckles. Eventually the process worked while being harried along by more friendly banter, and while I went out to get money from the bus to pay for the visa waiver stamps, Tara informed me they even attempted to impersonate me and my accent...
Who would have thought we would have had a laugh at the border crossing with immigration officials, I guess there is a first for everything. Soon we were in the USA , with a fully kitted out ‘Yak Wagon, a lots f different Kayaks, and the realisation suddenly hit me.... the Yak About Adventure with TRAK Kayaks and the TRAK on Tour had really begun, this will be a lot of work, though will also be a lot of fun.