i did my first surf comp while blind

Last weekend i did my first surf only contest, The rip curl stew in tofino. The few i've done are in surf/snow and skate comps, and have a slightly different format.
And i had to do it without really being able to see. well, chose to do it that way i guess.

Since there was a decent swell in the forecast i'd planned to head over to the island for some waves, check the comp and support the canadian surf scene. Then as time got closer decided to do the comp for shits and giggles (thanks rip curl for letting me in). However, just days before leaving i got a call from Lasik MD saying my appointment for getting my eyes lasered was a week away and i shouldn't wear contacts. I've had glasses for over 20 years, and been mostly in contacts for the past 15 years, so i started to change my plans to bail on the island since i didn't really like the prospect of blind surfing. Then my girlfriend kimmie talked me into (real rubber arm over here) trying to surf with my old glasses and rainx on the lenses. Sure, that's a great idea. however, it didn't work. five minutes into my first session the glasses fogged up and i was hating them. So i ripped them off and tried surfing without being able to see. Better than the glasses, but uhh where's that wave?? But once i caught the wave i was ok with the eyes, just a little more reaction as opposed to planning.

With my limited vision i decided to still do the comp. I figured if i got waves i might do ok (make it out of a heat or 2; i had no delusions on winning). This is where surf contests get interesting, will you get the waves? I couldn't imagine my career waiting for a "right" halfpipe to show up so i could do my tricks. It's kinda stressful in a way.

The contest was being held in world famous cox bay. well, maybe just tofino famous.

(i think there's might be a clean wave out there somewhere)

It's a great location to run a surf comp, hotels on the beach, short access, and always waves, just not necessarily the best wave around. Lots of duckdiving and waves that push through and don't break. It's a far cry from the reefs and point breaks that i usually surf. But, there were some good waves coming through, just had to find them. I found 1 ok wave in my 20 minute heat. I jumped off that wave, got stuck in a bad current and proceeded to spend the rest of my heat duckdiving. Not surpising, i didn't advance out of the 4 man heat (got 3rd). I had a blast in the comp as it's calls for a different head space then snowboarding, and it's interesting to see my own surfing on a time limit.

The scene on the beach was awesome. Miniramp on the beach, tunes, girls, and good friends kicking around. I pretty sure the whole town of tofino stopped by at one point or another. A bunch of whistler folk were on site, even 2000 US open halfpipe champ guillaume morrisette was strolling the beach.

The rest of the contest, the local boys went off! Showing his world class skills, pete devries won the comp (check his insane recent footy:, followed by the bruhwiler borthers, sepp and raph, and in fourth was ben murphy.

It was really cool watching these guys (and some of the other local super shreds) going off in their home break.

Unfortunately, i missed the finals as the waves were going off on another beach nearby and i was in the water for 9 hours. Had to get my fill before my eye surgery the following day.

Thanks rip curl for the good times at the comp, and marc and andrea at the surf social in ucluelet for the place to stay and the good times too! hopefully i'll be back next year to check it out again.

(great setup for the Stew)

(spy's daryl trinidad and myself catch-ing up. I'm always happy to run into my longtime friend)

Mt garibaldi

This is the view i wake up to everyday when i'm home. from left to right, Mt dalton 2653m, garibaldi 2678m (just barely seen hiding in the middle)and mt atwell at 2655m high. To say i've been antsy to get up those mtns and ride them is an understatement. I'd just never been on a mission to go up there. Finally, a week ago (the day after the plane ride) i got to head up there with my girlfriend kimmie. A late night decision to go up and an early morning saw us on our way. Our plan was to climb garibaldi, which is the highest peak in the region, then hopefully get on dalton while we were close. Atwell is a mission of it's own, and currently a little too far out of kimmie's league.

Another glorious day greeted us as we made the mission to get to splitboard land. Once on our boards, it was pretty easy going as the lower elevation snow was still frozen solid. With the fast conditions, i was able to take some side route exploring looking at future lines. While doing so, i also thought i'd be able to cut some corners and ended up above a pretty big crevasse zone, which forced me to backtrack back down to a mellower section of the glacier.

The general approach up there is pretty easy and straight forward. When we finally got a view of the main glacier and peak I wasn't really surprised to see old tracks up there as it had been mostly sunny for over a week and a few super nice weekends prior.

Getting closer to the final headwall, i knew the ice axes where going to be coming into play. As it was kimmie's first climb using one, i gave her a quick how to and a lesson in self arresting a fall with it.
I skinned up as high as i could and checked out the climb then set a new boot pack up as kimmie watched from down below. I was fairly surprised at the quality of the snow. Not frozen! Firm, but was still winter snow that would not be too bad.

I reached the summit fairly quickly and it was awesome. To see this mtn everyday when i'm home and to finally be on top looking down was epic. As i waited for kimmie to make the climb i scoped out the summit ridge and the possibility of getting over to dalton which is super close. However, upon scoping the whole ridge for a way down towards dalton, the only one i found was 65 degrees for a few hundred feet and dead ice. The climb up for me would have been easy, the ride down... no way. I needed a longer rope than what i had to be able to rappel down it. So summitting dalton ended right there. Another day.

Kimmie was doing great with the ice axe and was all smiles when she made it to the top. I was so stoked on bringing her up there and getting her up on a big peak. Especially since it may have been her last day snowboarding for the season.

We hung out on the summit for a while and enjoyed the views and ate some lunch while waiting for the snow to soften up a little.

Time to shred! I sent kimmie down the face we'd climbed up, then i traversed over and found some rocks to launch off. Then it was high speed turns the whole way down the glacier.

We were able to ride almost the whole way out, which is always awesome. As we made our way over brohm ridge to awesome views, we realized the day was still pretty early and it was full on spring in the valley, which i always forget when i'm in the mtns.

After making our way up almost 2700m from sea level, once home kimmie and i pulled the bikes out and went for a 2 hour pedal around some of our favorite trails to end off one of our funnest days of the season.

morning light

gear for the day. splitboard, full pack, poles, crampons, and ice axes

table mtn and black tusk


garibaldi glacier

kimmie climbing up

mt atwell, squamish and howe sound

epic looking chutes

kimmie topping out.

me and kimmie

looking west and north off the summit

looking north

looking south

billy goating. this nub had a little bridge over to it and huge drops all around it.

the drop off from that nub


spring time is high speed shredding

kimmie's that little dot! she rode the main line down from the summit (lookers left; summit is hidden) and i goated through the rocks to go launching, farther lookers right (just before the highest pinnacle on the ridge line).

a very happy kimmie on her way down

plane ride around squish

this past monday i was talking with Mike carney, who's a life long squamish local, former Olympic downhill skier, and now realtor. We got onto the subject of planes and he mentioned he was getting his hours done in a cessna, and was heading out that afternoon for a flight around squamish then asked if i'd like to come along. Hell yes!
It was amazing, to say the least. i got to scope some potential snowboard lines and get an unreal tour of my home from the air.
Thanks Mike!

part of the tantalus range

rumbling glacier on the tantalus range

howe sound

the stawamus chief

black tusk

mt atwell. everyday i open the curtains in my room and this is the first mountain i see.

mt atwell again

mmm powder

a noboard day in april.

pipe follow stick

blackcomb has been demo-ing a 22 foot cutter for the past few weeks and i've been loving it. everyone has been loving it. so fun having a good pipe at home. it's been years. hopefully we'll have a 22 foot pipe for next season.

here's a little clip of me riding said pipe with a gopro camera on a follow stick. it was definitely harder than i thought to keep my camera hand steady while doing tricks but i got a mellow run with it.

when i say mission...

it's been amazing around whistler lately! rode pow for over 2 weeks straight. it's been awesome, lots of time on the hill and in the backcountry exploring new terrain.

One of my missions, involved 2 days for me. I went up solo one day to check out a new zone and spent a few hours wandering up to treeline before heading down. The area looked awesome and the next day i grabbed a crew consisting of dave basterechea, kyle wolochatiuk and his girlfriend krista for a little mission to summit this zone.

To make a 12+ hour mission story short, we summited after 6-7 hours of climbing, we toured straight up heli tracks, dropped into the unknown and shredded it by headlamp, got some awesome powder turns in, found pillow lines, krista found a hole, and we all had a great time.

Some of my pics aren't loading up properly so i've got a few from kyle and dave.
more to come

kyle in the trees

kyle and me way down there, watching dave head straight up heli tracks

me cruisin up the last pitch

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no more skis!

garibaldi in the background, i have a totally different view of this mtn from my bedroom


dave making his way over to the spine

dropping into my line

me shreddin

dave's view of me

kyle's view

kyle on the spine line

me riding down. kyle and dave rode the sunny spine in the back, and i rode the face just lookers left

we found some pillows in the trees

krista got eaten by a pillow hole in the dark

shredding by headlamp!

kyle taking a break near the end of a long day.

solo splitboarding

one of my favorite things to do on a snowboard is check out new spots, especially at home. There's a lot of zones around whistler that can only be accessed by foot, so some days i cruise out by myself and get up there to see what's to be had.
yesterday was one of those days. Sounded like a mellow hike up to this zone. It turned into a really good slog. about 5 miles worth of breaking trail in 80cm of snow, losing the trail a few times, making my way around a maze of an unfrozen creek and dodging terrain traps through steep tight trees. I ended up being on the move for 8 hours straight. little bit more than i thought it would be, but scoped some new stuff and rode the most perfect tree line ever. can't wait to get back up there.

taking my board for a walk in the woods

big cedars

mushroom pillow or buried hut?

if you want in, start digging.

future objectives

creek maze

perfection! and a couple thousand feet of it.

euro trippin' video

a short HD video of my recent euro trippin.
2.5 weeks, 4 countries, 3 contests, a bruised tailbone, messed up ribs, and 1 world title. great trip, minus the tailbone and ribs.

seems every song i picked can't be used on youtube, so the video is to the sweet sounds of shredding.

the globe!

My last minute plan changing has paid off and I've won the world cup halfpipe overall title.

The pipe was pretty difficult for the contest day. Was just super warm and sunny here all week so lots of holes and lots of bumps. But as always, good riding still went down. Freddie austbo won the guys, followed by christophe schmidt then myself. On the girls side holly crawford won followed by mercedes nicoll, who's been having a good run here in europe with a 4th and 2 podiums in 3 contests.

It feels awesome to have won the globe. I never really thought about trying for it, especially this year where my focus was solely on the olympics. But circumstances brought me to europe and it went from there. I'm still pretty beat up from last weekend (it still hurts to sit), so really happy i was able to get some good runs in and finish the year with a podium and the crystal globe.

since this list is very long, i'm going the short way..
a huge thanks to Kimmie, my family and all my friends for the support, todd at perform x training, Canada snowboard and own the podium, and i have to say a big thanks to my sponsors for all the help. Bataleon snowboards, bern helmets, whistler/blackcomb, dakine, cheetah factory racing, reef, surefoot whistler, and rude boys snowboard shop in banff who've been supporting me for pretty much ever.
this year's been awesome.

euro trippin'

in what seems like a trend of last minute plan changes, somehow now i'm in spain!

X games in france didn't go as good as i'd hoped. Just wasn't riding super good and didn't make the cut to finals. Fun trip of shredding though. pipe was pretty good, and got to ride some nice lines which i always like.
Quickly skipping out of tignes, i headed to italy for a world cup in a town called valmalenco. Knowing it was an 18 foot pipe, i wasn't expecting much. I hate 18foot pipes and generally avoid them. I hadn't ridden one in nearly a year, and less than a week in the last 2 seasons combined. For me, it's extremely different. a 22 foot pipe is nearly 25% bigger than an 18 footer. it's a big difference, it'd be like telling a 100m sprinter to just run 80 meters but their specialty is the last 20 meters of the 100m race.
Some people can bounce back and forth between the 2 pretty easily, but i seem to struggle in an 18 footer in comparison to the 22s. maybe it's because i'm taller and ride bigger boards than most people. I don't know what it is, but that was my last serious contest in an 18 foot pipe that's for sure. On the contest day, i broke a binding in practise, messed up a board during the day and fell really hard in practise for finals. I hit some undervert and put my butt into the coping. I was not stoked. But i ended up 4th at the end of the day and in the lead for the overall world cup pipe title. It's weird how things balance out sometimes.

My plans had me going to boston the next day to visit my brother and the Bern helmet offices, then heading off to the US open in vermont. BUT...
The overall title has never a goal of mine, but being in the lead and having one world cup left was too interesting of a possibility to pass up. It was a really tough decision since the us open is my favorite contest. I'm from the east coast (quebec) and it just feels like home when i'm riding around there. crazy weather, crazy riding, good pipe and slopestyle setup. i love it.
But spain won out due to the crystal globe (prize for the overall)
After riding all day on sunday, traveling to milan, i stayed up nearly all night trying to change plane tickets so i could come to spain. By 430 am i had it all done, passed out and off to spain.
I just got into la molina, checked out the pipe (22 footer that's looking good; hopefuly it'll be riding good) and am settling in for the week.
Should have some time this week to get some video up from the euro trippin. check back.


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