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For many years I have wanted to get Temple Cummins and Joe Curren together and go for a surf and snowboard trip. They're so similar in what they do, just in different passions.
I met Cummins years ago on a trip to Alaska. We were doing a surf and snowboard trip where we actually never had the chance to snowboard. Years before that, I'd met Curren on a trip down to Santa Barbara, Calif. Both are mellow fellows that are so smooth and really lay it on a rail in what they do. When you watch Curren surf it's so pleasant to the eye, and the same goes for Cummins in the snow. It was so good to finally get this crew together on a trip like this.
I wanted to go someplace where we could snowboard and surf in the same day. Not just push it to make it happen, but actually surf fun waves and go straight from the surf to ride powder with the same group of people. With its weather and waves the Pacific Northwest is the perfect strike zone, and the closer you get to Canada the more opportunities present themselves.
I watched the weather and finally saw our window. Both Cummins and Curren had time to make it happen as a great storm system approached Washington. I always enjoy going somewhere different and new and this would be just that -- packing snowboards, boots, 6-mils and everything else to stay warm.
One thing I always dislike about doing any trip like this is having so much luggage. It was a classic check-in.
"So why are you bringing a surfboard here? Don't you know Hawaii has waves?" asked the woman at the ticket counter. When I hear quotes like that I know I am heading in the right direction.
On the flight, I thought about how amazing this world is, and how fortunate I am to get to utilize a storm like this. The same storm that made the waves we surfed brought the powder as well.
Our timing was absolutely perfect. We woke up the first morning to some glassy conditions with head-high, peeling lefts, snow on the mountain peaks behind us and serious excitement percolating with the coffee. Between Curren and Cummins, it's pure grace, every wave -- nothing but smiles in the water. But we were anxious to get up to the snow.
Last year I broke my leg surfing in Canada and missed out on a full winter of surfing and snowboarding. It had been way too long and I couldn't wait to ride powder, far from the Tahoe crowds.
Out of the water, we went from our wetsuits straight into snow gear. The mountain was so close to the surf, we figured we might as well be ready when we arrived at the base. Driving up the mountain with still-wet hair, surfboards in the back and snowboards below, it was dumping fresh powder. As we drove, looking at fresh snow and thinking back to the waves we just rode, there was a feeling of connection. It was the same storm for surf and snow -- all the elements in their most perfect forms.
The mountain had a small chairlift, but Cummins insisted that we hike to get the best snow. Hiking is always one of my favorite things on the hill. It's nice to get out and away from people and appreciate the beauty of what you are doing in nature. We took several runs, each one heightening the infectious mood.
It's always amazing to watch someone like Cummins snowboard. From a surf perspective, he sees the mountain through a totally different lens, flying down the mountain effortlessly.
We could actually see waves as we were riding the mountain. After the session, we returned to sea level, wondering if we would have enough time to get one more surf in. Why not?
Rushing against the setting sun, it was straight out of the snowboarding clothes and back into our wetsuits. This is something pretty new to me and, I assume, most of the sideways-facing world. I remember walking out to the surf hearing Joe exclaim, "Well, I can check that off my bucket list! I finally got the chance to surf and snowboard all in the same day."
If I had a bucket list, I would be right there with him.