Skookumchuck is a tidal bore in the ocean that delivers a river wave experience, it’s really big wave that is on a schedule with the moon! Because of this I knew of the peak tidal event a year in advance, down to the exact minute of the day that it would be best for standup paddling. Knowing this, I planned a 7 thousand mile road trip around events like the GoPro Games and the Payette River Games so that I could make it to Skookumchuck on schedule.
At 15.7 knots, Skook is not for everyone, but it starts small, so beginners can surf and then, as it builds, it evolves over 6 hours to be huge and then back to small.
The feeling of surfing this wave is like no other because you can rip around the face for hours and have rides that are 20 minutes long. It is without a doubt mother nature’s greatest “flow rider” or “flow box”.
Keep in mind every sup surf session at 15.7 knots is followed by survival-of-the-whirlpools, boils and folding currents of a massive tidal shift between big mountains in a bay of chaos. Take every precaution but remember boats sink here and you have to save yourself!
Now to get equipped!
Board: Imagine Impact 7’10”
PFD: Body Glove Impact Vest PFD and a Body Glove inflatable rescue PFD. (Sometimes a third vest)
Leash: It’s the most important piece of gear that helps to keep you alive! When you are upside down, in the bottom of a whirlpool funnel, in water that is 500 FT deep, you can stay close to the surface and climb that leash to the board that is like a vertical tombstone in a sea of chaos to get some air.
Here is a video where Nikki Gregg gives tips on proper leash usage in a river.
Like I said this place is not for everyone at 15 knots, but mother nature sure did create something great for the top level waterman.
Paddle: I use an Accent Pro Bolt which is literally unbreakable. This is important because it comes in handy on the wave and going on “Tour” (that is what I call the mile long lap in the sea of chaos).
Wetsuit: In the summer the Body Glove Prime 3/2 is perfect for hanging on during the swim, hanging out on shore and also surfing on a rainy day, which does not happen often in July on the Sunshine coast.
My advice to the river wave and Skook surfer: Take every precaution and learn from those that do it and live it. Research the best leash to use and life-vest to wear. Then start small and build up to the green monster face that Skookumchuck narrows can deliver. –Luke Hopkins
of Imagine Paddlesurf