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As some of you may or may not know I am getting ready for my next standup paddleboard conservation expedition to Haida Gwaii. Since completing Standup4Greatbear, I then set my sights on the islands at the edge of the continent. Haida Gwaii is one of those powerful, magical places and an area that is part of the Great Bear Rainforest and at risk of an oil spill from the proposed tankers.
I have had the opportunity as guide to fish for salmon on the rugged and swell blasted, west coast, one of the highest energy coastlines in the world. I have surfed incredible waves on the stunning North Beach of Graham Island within sight of Alaska and i have sailed and explored Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve on South Moresby. A plan was set in motion after sitting down a year ago with Anthony Bonello, a Whistler based filmmaker, photographer, writer and adventurer. He saw my film Standup4Greatbear and wanted to work on a film that would bring the issue of oil tankers and protection of the Great Bear Rainforest to a larger audience. I convinced him to do an expedition to Haida Gwaii. Anthony is a talented, creative filmmaker and will be working with another professional filmmaker and photographer, Nicolas Teichrob. We have worked hard to bring this all together in order to accomplish our goals.
Our project is called STANDFILM. Quiksilver and the Quiksilver Foundation have signed on as the title sponsor and we are also getting financial support from the Escape Route and Pacific Wild. My board sponsor, Boardworks Surf Canada is supplying me with a fast 12 6″ Ohana that i will take through the challenging waters of North Beach, Rose Spit and Hecate Straight. We are incredibly excited to showcase the rich marine ecosystems and powerful Haida culture.
Some of you have followed the students in the wood working shop in Bella Bella and their teacher Chris Williamson. We highlighted the students building their own wooden SUP’s in 2011 on the Standup4Greatbear Documentary and this year Standfilm will follow the second class of seven students who are each building their own wooden SUP’s.
I, along with Anthony and Nicolas, will be heading to Bella Bella on May 30th. We will launch the boards on Calvert Island from Hakai Beach Institute and I will teach them how to paddleboard, giving them the skills to safely explore their traditional waters. Our filming will be complete after a fall surf trip with Quiksilver athlete, Raph Bruhwiler. Raph, a professional Canadian surfing icon, waterman and coastal explorer will lead our trip to some remote surf break on Vancouver Island. Super stoked about this too. Immediately after Bella Bella, we are headed to the Haida Village, Old Masset, where we will begin our trip. Thanks to Escape Route we have secured our support boat, Soul Haven, a 40′ Valliant sailboat which will be captained by Nigel, an experienced racer and international traveler.
|Captain Nigel, Anthony and Soul Haven
Our expedition begins on June 5th and we have set aside a couple of weeks. Our route takes us across the top of Graham Island, down the East side where we will visit the five Haida Watchman sites and ending at the UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, the Ninstints on the remote southwestern tip. I will continue to update as Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii approach. The training has been going well and this will be something special. One more opportunity to work with talented, passionate people dedicated to protecting our coastline and the Great Bear Rainforest.