Haida Gwaii Expression Session

  • Nov. 4, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Whether they’re catching waves, snapping photos, or just enjoying the beach, hundreds of islanders will gather to celebrate surf during the Haida Gwaii Expression Sessions on November 7 and 8.”It’s become an institution here on Haida Gwaii, and we’re in our sixth year now,” said North Beach Surf Shop owner and event organizer Mike MacQuade. “It’s evolved from a couple of guys and gals out at the beach to hundreds of people.”The expression sessions are an overall celebration of surfing, surf culture, and ocean life on Haida Gwaii, he said, and he encourages everyone to come out and explore what the weekend has to offer.For the first time, the Expression Sessions will include a photo contest. Organizers will be accepting submissions until November 14, and will award a $100 give certificate for the best overall photograph and two $100 gift certificates for the best photograph of a surfer (one for the photographer and one for the surfer).”We’re looking for a good cross-section of photos from all the events over the course of the weekend,” said Mr. MacQuade.The action starts Friday at 6 p.m. with a free art, photography, and film show at the Haida Gwaii Recreation building in Masset, showcasing the creative side of surf culture.Vancouver-based artist Rika will be displaying and selling his ‘oceanscape’ artwork during the event. He uses his signature style to recreate the surf and swell of the Pacific Northwest Coast, including Haida Gwaii.Guy Kimola’s island-life photography will be featured in a slideshow, with islanders’ photo submissions running alongside.The evening also includes a surf film double feature of The Fortune Wild and Bigfoot Country: The Adventures of Woody and the Blue Ox, both with footage from on-islands.Islanders will head to North Beach the following morning, meeting at the Hiellen River mouth. Surfers are asked to pre-register with Haida Gwaii Recreation and pay their $30 fee in cash when they arrive at the beach on Saturday, which covers participation and t-shirt costs. There will be no concession this year, said organizer Lucy Neville of Haida Gwaii Recreation, so people are asked to stock up on food and warm drinks before heading to the beach.The day’s events kick-off with the ‘adopt-a-grom’ surf lessons at 10 a.m. ‘Grom’ is short for grommet and refers to a young surfer. “Probably the best part of the Expression Sessions weekend is the ‘adopt-a-grom,’ where surfers get to share their love of surfing with our upcoming crew,” said Mr. MacQuade.The first 24 registrants between the ages of six and 16 pay the $30 registration fee for an Expression Sessions t-shirt, the use of a wetsuit and surf board, and an hour of one-on-one in-water training with a volunteer surfer.”We’re very thankful to local surfers who volunteer to help out. It’s often the best part of their day to see the smiles on those kids faces,” he said. “As always, we need more guys and gals to come out and adopt a ‘grom.’ Let us know you’re interested when you register.”Should the swell and wind cooperate, noon to 4 p.m. will be an optimal time for surfers to catch some waves and for photographers to snap some pictures.Even if people don’t get in the water, Mr. MacQuade said it’s a great day for people to spend time at the beach with their friends.Those who’d like to “adopt-a-grom” should identify themselves when registering with Haida Gwaii Recreation by phone at 626-5652 or online at hgrec.com.

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