So there it was, windsurfing and foiling, what would we call it? Foiling? Windfoiling? Who knows? Regardless, we had the foil up and flying for two days in perfect light wind training conditions, along with some epic bike rides and some delicious pizza at Creekbread. Yeah, if you have ever been to Maui and gone to Flatbread, this is one of their sister stores and for me added an element of home. After all that, it was time to go down to Squamish to see how we could do with a little more challenge of some bigger wind and colder water but holding the potential for some scenic shots.
I met up with the Starboard importer who was also stoked on the new possibilities of foiling and we went for a blast around Squamish. I was actually impressed that it was almost easier in the higher wind. This time I was using a 5.8 Zeta, your typical five batten wave sail, instead of the 7.5 Cheetah freeride sail and it worked amazingly. The smaller sail this time made it easier to manoeuvre the rig. Once you get up on the wing of the foil you actually don’t need a big sail. Really, all you want is enough sail for you to get up onto the foil and then you are flying and I mean, you literally get the sensation you’re flying. The wind in Squamish is definitely reliable. Everyday I was there, there was wind. For slalom sailing, freeride and freestyle this place is amazing. The town is super cool and the locals are pretty friendly. I did get some bad looks on my ebike, but hey who doesn’t scowl when someone right next to you is having twice as much fun instead of suffering up a mountain.
In both Whistler and Squamish I had a blast. I can’t tell you in words why the foil feels so cool. Is it the hovering across the water with no chatter form the board whatsoever? Is it just being so far out of the water that it actually feels like you are walking on water? I don’t know but once you feel it, you really feel it. It gets you so stoked that it is almost like a new sport. I think people who have grown tired of heading to the lake and not having enough wind to get up and going would do well to try windfoiling. Some might consider it a trend but then again, when you’re flying around in no wind and it feels so good, it is one trend I’ll ride. Oh I see another puff of wind, I am going to go catch it. See you out there!
Whistler Must Do’s
Rent a mountain bike and get a lift ticket and have the lift take you up as you have run after run of fun, fun, fun! Even if you are not the avid mountain biker there is definitely a trail for you. I remember the first time I hit the ‘Crank It Up’ trail at the Whistler Bike Park, it was like something you dream about when you are a kid. Having a lift take you up and you just get to go down again and again and again until you can’t feel your body. It is crazy how much of a workout you do just going downhill all day.
Peak to Peak gondola. This is a must do with the family. I did it in the winter time out of necessity but it is a huge gondola spanning the two mountains from Blackcomb to Whistler Mountain. Everyone that went on it this summer said it was just amazing, it’s simply a must do. Green Lake. You can see it from the Peak to Peak gondola. Simply stunning. Alta Lake. If you hit Rainbow Park on a hot sunny day, it’s a great place for everyone. Perfect for everything from cruising on your stand up paddle boards to windsurfing around the lake. It is on the less busy side of the lake so if you are in need of a little less hustle and bustle it is definitely the place to go for windsurfing and a nice dip in the lake to cool off on a hot summer day. Creekbread. Well maybe it is just nice to have a home cooked meal when you are far away from home, but the Mopsy’s Pizza is an all time favourite. You can’t go wrong if you like the modern day pizza.
Squamish Must Do’s
Known as the ‘Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada’ – within a 10-minute drive of Squamish you have Base jumping, Paragliding, Hiking, Skiing and Snowboarding, Rock Climbing and White Water Rafting. For Mountain Biking, it offers probably the best non bike park mountain biking you will ever experience. The ‘Full Nelson Trail’ in Squamish is one of the world’s best MTB tracks and if you like flow trails, the “Half Nelson” is the best flow trail for all levels riding that I have ever been to hands down. I guess what I am saying is, if you go to Canada, bring your mountain bike. I don’t think I really even scratched the surface. The Chief. If you are into hiking, the Chief is the place. The Chief, officially known as the Stawamus Chief Mountain, is a granite dome located adjacent to the town of Squamish. You can see the people going up and down it as you windsurf on the sound and the views are definitely worth the walk. The place to eats is Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina. It says fried chicken on the sign but don’t let their poor marketing and appearance fool you. The food is awesome, if you have the time; it took a very long time to get my food, but I rarely say this, it was worth it. It had a unique flavour that kept me coming back for more. The burritos had their own flair but what looked amazing was their Chimichunga, that looked so good. As I was staring at my neighbors Chimi, he said, “Yeah, it’s the best thing on the menu!”
Squamish is just an hour’s drive away from Vancouver International Airport and just 30 minutes from Whistler. There’s lots of great camping spots in the Squamish / Whistler area so renting a motorhome is a popular option for getting around.
‘The Spit’ is where you go to windsurf in Squamish. While filled with a lot of kiters, it is still the windiest place in British Columbia. It blows everyday, at least when I was there and it blows strong and steady. The kiters think that they are cooler than windsurfers, but all in all they are generally friendly enough. The wind in Squamish is thermally driven with the main season running from April to end of September and is very reliable, with at least a force 4-5 most days. The wind results from the temperature difference between cooler Vancouver to the south and warmer Pemberton inland to the north and a big temperature difference between the two results in a SW wind being sucked through the ‘Sea to Sky’ corridor. To access the flat waters of ‘The Spit’ you will need to pay a daily or yearly membership to The Squamish Windsports Society (SWS), a non-profit society. Prices start at 20$ / day or $165 for the year – other options available, see www.squamishwindsports.com for full details. In return you get access to the spot, plenty of parking, changing areas, bathrooms and a rescue service. The water is cold from glacial runoff so a decent wetsuit and booties are advised if you want to keep warm and it’s worth bringing a full quiver of clothing from boardshorts to jackets to keep up with the changing weather.