We were in the car on our way to Lake Erie. It was a Monday. Mark and I had taken the afternoon off to go surfing. We had reached half way through the interview and I still had so many questions to ask Mark. Luckily for me, we still had about 45 mins for me to finish the interview; I knew that as soon as the waves would be in sight, I would lose Mark's focus for the interview.
I feel privileged to have such a great friend to share these exciting moments on the water. I am also proud to share with you this portrait of him through my #isurf photo series.
1. Would you say surfing the Great Lakes was a life changing experience?
Yes, I love the peace it brings to my life. It’s almost like it can solve any troubles I have, it is such a positive and soothing experience to surf the Great Lakes.
2. Everyone knows that the winter is the best season on the lakes, can you tell us more about the winter season on the lakes? Was your first winter season on the lakes?
My first time surfing in winter was on a trip to Halifax. Surfing in the winter is a humbling experience every time. The traffic and crowd is way less, but the waves are better and more consistent. You are working and enduring a certain level of pain just to catch a wave and keep improving. You get thrown and beaten up. Hard days in the winter make easy days… easy!
3. Do you have any stories that stands out during your winter sessions?
With Pat at the Burlington skyway in February. The wind was really strong about 50-60 km/h! I could barely walk from the car to the beach. Hail was pelting in my face and the waves were big. You had to try to catch a wave, not let anything bother you and when you do it feels like you have achieved something at the end.
4. When and where did you catch you best ride?
Can’t comment! I don’t like this question! I can just say that you can catch more waves than thought on the Great Lakes.
5. What do people say when you tell them that you surf the Great Lakes all year round?
Surfing is more popular, but I still have to explain and convince people that you can surf on the Great Lakes. Also, some people view it as a fun activity on the beach, others as a lifelong craft to be mastered.
6. What is your view on surf?
I view surf as a craft; it is a way of expressing myself, it feels right. I’d like to say I’m a chill guy, but if I put effort into something I will invest myself fully. I am always ready to go surf and I love my surf boards.
7. What is your view on the Great Lakes?
The Great Lakes are very unique. I think that if I grew up in California, surfing wouldn’t feel as unique. To me, surfing the Great Lakes feel more special, more original, but also more unknown. I know that there are a lot of surfers on the lake now, but often times you are by yourself, finding new places that possibly no one has surfed before. There is so much coastline to choose from so you can always find yourself in a unique place.
8. Any advice to new surfers?
It is an individual sport with a lot of freedom so you can dictate more what you do. Appreciate every session as well the people who are supportive and accept you for choosing this lifestyle.
Be original with your surfing and listen to yourself. It is you with nature.
The #isurf series follows people of the Great Lakes community and retells their stories through anecdotes, interviews and photographs. #isurf will be released every other month, the first part will be released on the Wednesday and the second on the Friday.