The Canadian Experience

posted by / Photos / April 9, 2014

All Photos: Scotty Sherin

Reflecting on his trip to our northern neighbor, Kevin assures us he’ll be back. We might just have to join him.

Reflecting on his trip to our northern neighbor, Kevin assures us he’ll be back. We might just have to join him.

Apparently in Canada this is BBQ weather.

Apparently this is BBQ weather in Canada.

“Like a reverse Rincon,” Kevin says. But then, where are all the people?

“Like a reverse Rincon,” Kevin says. But then, where are all the people?

Doesn't count.

Doesn't count.

Of course you can surf in those. Just make sure you tie the laces so you don’t trip standing up.

Of course you can surf in those. Just make sure you tie the laces so you don’t trip standing up.

He’s too young to drink, but knows from the movies he likes his liquid on the rocks.

He’s too young to drink, but knows from the movies he likes his liquid on the rocks.

Just look at that pink, wind-bitten face. What do you think he’s enjoying more, the view or the shelter?

Just look at that pink, wind-bitten face. What do you think he’s enjoying more, the view or the shelter?

Ready for SeaWorld.

Ready for SeaWorld.

You know it’s cold because the whitewater matches the beach. Kevin knows it’s cold because he can’t feel his extremities.

You know it’s cold because the whitewater matches the beach. Kevin knows it’s cold because he can’t feel his extremities.

Photographer Scotty Sherin calls this art but really it’s just an excuse to be next to the fire.

Photographer Scotty Sherin calls this art but really it’s just an excuse to be next to the fire.

There, that’s better.

There, that’s better.

Kevin Shulz’s Canadian canvas, just waiting for him to splatter some paint.

Kevin Shulz’s Canadian canvas, just waiting for him to splatter some paint.

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.

Oh, Canada
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.

Different indeed.

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

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  • Robin

    Great seeing Canadian surf stories on here. There is so much shoreline on both coasts, and of course on The Great Lakes. Canada is filled with breaks that have yet to be surfed. Glad you made the cold trek, Kevin! Not many people are enticed to surf the cold, much less make a “reverse” surf trip! And you’re right, it’s a totally different stoke catching a wave in a 6/5. Hope to have the opportunity to discover more :)

  • Miles Smith

    Kevin is a great kid! I hope others will see this as inspiration to see more of this world and reap the benefits as he did.

  • Jono

    Shhh…There is no surf in Canada… :)

  • Elmira

    Yea Kevin!!! Awesome story, and I can’t wait to buy the magazine!

  • Ethan Carlston

    Epic!

  • yo

    very well written kevin