The Cedar Surf (New Star $16)
Forget Jan & Dean. Forget those smooth Beach Boys harmonies. Grant Shilling’s surf board is called The Muff—named after an all-girl punk band. His informal history of surfing in British Columbia, The Cedar Surf (New Star $16), is concerned with living on the edge, roughing it in frigid waters.
Shilling credits James Sadler as the dean of B.C. surfers. He’s a plain guy who rode out to B.C. on a horse from Olds, Alberta in 1948 with $1.10 in his pocket. As a Victoria carpenter, he first saw Pachena Bay, near Bamfield, on the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’, when he was building a lodge in the winter of ’65. “At Pachena Point, an Englishman gave Jim a boogie board made out of two pieces of plywood with rounded-off edges so they couldn’t cut their stomachs,” writes Shilling, editor/publisher of the Gulf Island Gazette. “They strapped themselves to the boards with rubber tubes but their hands were free.” They put on fins because Sadler was an experienced scuba diver.
With a new road finally connecting Tofino and Ucluelet to the outside world in ‘66, Sadler won two trophies at the first surfing competition held at Wickaninnish. Shilling traces the evolution of B.C. surfing via the squatters of Long Beach up to Billy Leach’s first surf shop in Ucluelet, providing a surfer’s glossary and a selection of downright groovy artwork, and reflecting on how much surfing has become an integral part of Long Beach society.
“Ten years ago,” says a former fisherman, “if there was one pretty girl in town, it was a miracle. With surfing, this town has become the home of surfer babes.” Playgirl came to Long Beach and did a photo shoot. Such is, er, progress. Now there’s a company called Surf Sister that exclusively provides surfing lessons to women. A B.C. Surfing Association now exists. It’s easy to find. Surf the web. 0-921586-93-0
[BCBW 2003] "Sports" "Outdoors"