While people like me travel vast distances to come to places such as this and surf alone, somewhat ironically, McQuade says that local Haida Gwaii surfers try to surf with a group whenever possible. “We could have maybe 20 people out on a busy day,” said McQuade. “There’s 50 miles of beach up here, so if you want to be alone you can certainly be alone, but we tend to migrate towards each other.
While Mulcoy himself has been the subject of many hero shots selling the idea of coldwater exploration and has landed more than one magazine cover surfing in front of an alpine backdrop, he’s the first to admit that the reality of scoring waves in chilly, far-flung places can be far less glamorous than what you see on Instagram.
Once there, we were to meet up with Santa Cruz pro surfer Noah Wegrich and most-interesting-man-alive candidate Josh Mulcoy to find an alleged coldwater treasure trove of empty beach break and river mouth surf.
Wegrich and Mulcoy have the unique blend of curiosity, patience and obsession with uncrowded surf to make coldwater trips their comfort zone. “I came over for surfing and became one of ‘the feral dudes,’ which is what I call the guys who sort of live off the grid,” he told me. “The surf is fantastic when it goes off, but it is fickle.
He smiled and shrugged his shoulders at my unintentionally-rude-but-still-totally condescending question. “No I’ve got other stuff I can be doing,” he said, noting that he has a good time just hanging on the beach, building a fire and enjoying the astounding beauty of the place. “People get worried about it getting overpopulated here,” McQuade continued. “But it’s so hard to get here and you could go weeks at a time without scoring waves.
Each November during the full moon, McQuade organizes a surf festival called “Expression Session”, where surfers and community members gather on the beach just outside Masset to catch a few waves and teach the next generation of kids how to surf.
Read more here: Surfer Mag