North Beach surfing session attracts hundreds

  • Nov. 8, 2013 8:00 p.m.

by Laura Bishop-The fifth annual Haida Gwaii Expression Sessions attracted and inspired hundreds of islanders with a free weekend of surf culture celebration, water awareness and peer mentorship. The sessions kicked off Friday night (Nov. 1) with a surf film double feature with The Fortune Wild and Stand, both shot on island. The next morning, the Hiellen River at North Beach surged with 28 children and an equal number of surf volunteers during the ‘adopt-a-grom’ free surf lessons. ‘Grom’ is short for grommet and refers to a young surfer. On Sunday afternoon just under 30 surfers came out for the men’s wave. The sessions closed Monday night with an art show entitled Oceanscapes of Haida Gwaii, as Vancouver based artist Rika showcased his pieces at the Delkatla Nature Centre. In all, more than 600 people attended the various events. Event organizer and Haida Gwaii Recreation coordinator Lucy Neville said showing movies filmed on Haida Gwaii, about Haida Gwaii, made a big difference in the number of participants this year, with a record 102 people attending the films. The first film, The Fortune Wild, featured footage shot while professional Canadian surfers Peter Devries, Reid Jackson and Arran Jackson were visiting the islands in 2012. Norm Hann was in attendance when his documentary Stand was shown. His film is an intimate look at the people and waters that would be affected by tanker traffic in Hecate Strait. Footage was shot during Mr. Hann’s stand up paddleboard journeys from Kitimat to Bella Bella and Old Massett to Sgang Gwaay. He interviews people from Kitimat, Bella Bella, Tofino, and several Haida Gwaii locations and expresses the irreversible impact an oil spill would have on these communities. Watching the professionals shredding Haida Gwaii surf got people in the mood to catch some waves of their own. Saturday was sunny with a cold northwesterly wind, but that didn’t keep wetsuit clad youth and volunteers from diving in. The Big House longhouseat Hiellen, built by Old Massett Village Council, was a warm place to change, eat and socialize between sessions. Meanwhile, island surfers and kids were one-on-one in the surf, learning the basics and sharing some laughs. Ms. Neville said it was great to see so many island surfers our in the water with the kids. “The adopt-a-grom session establishes peer-mentor relationships. It encourages competency in the water, safety and awareness. Not having a pool, the ocean is where this happens. We’re on an island surrounded by water. Learning fundamentals and movement in the water; it’s crucial to being able to get out there, to be safe, to have fun, to explore and learn.” She also noted that in the last five years, there has been a growth in community leadership that directly correlates with free surf club programs available to high school students. Youth that had spent four years attending surf club sessions mentored new surfers last Saturday, sharing the experience and passing on knowledge gifted to them. The adult wave session encourages those over the age of 18 to get in on the fun too. Each year alternates between youth, women and men’s wave sessions, and Sunday was gentlemen’s turn. Participants in array of ages from all communities showed you’re never too old to try something new. To close out the four-day sessions, Oceanscapes of Haida Gwaii were on display for wave riders and land lovers alike. Nine framed pieces and assorted prints returned with Rika to Haida Gwaii, the place of their inspirational origin, for a free Monday night art show. Ms. Neville said artist Rika’s pieces were created based on experiences he had at the 2012 expression sessions. The generous island community made this event possible: Haida Gwaii Recreation, North Beach Surf Shop, Alaska View Lodge, Living and Learning School, Old Massett Village Council (Patricia Moore), island surfer mentors and all participants, spectators and supporters. “This is an all island family event. Its aim is to be affordable and accessible for all islanders. The ocean is for everyone,” said Ms. Neville.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Most Read