March California Trip 2016

At the end of February my husband and I packed up the van (which has a double bed, storage, and a beer fridge) with all of the necessities, my camera, and five paddle boards. We set off for three weeks so I could race paddle boards, take pictures, and surf. 

We left Edmonton early in the morning and headed past Fernie towards Oregon. By the second day we had reach Boise, Idaho where I met up with a company that I am an ambassador for, Proof Eyewear. The people I met were awesome and I got to pick out some rad new ecofriendly sunglasses for the race season. After Boise, we started on the road to California eager to get into the water and do some paddling. 

After two and a half days of driving we made it to Dana Point, CA where I picked up my new race board and met up with friends. It's odd to have people whom you feel close to but only get to see every five months. The people that I have met through stand up paddle boarding (SUP) are some of the kindest and amazing people you could ask for. I am always stoked to see them and sad to say goodbye. That's one of the major draws to SUP though, each event or race is more like a family reunion rather than a competitive event. On the water people want to win but always put the safety of others first. It's normal to see competitors high five, hug, or cheer each other before and after the race. 

In the first week there I was lucky enough to get the chance to volunteer as the photographer for the Dana Point Whale Festival "Dinghy Dash." Essentially, contestants got three hours to make a cardboard boat out of only cardboard and duct tape. After the three hours was over there was a race to a buoy in the harbour and back. The fasted boat back without sinking was the winner. It was awesome to see the designs that people were able to come up with and involvement from so many people from the community. Ironically, the boats that I thought would do well, didn't and the boats that I thought would fail, did quite well. Regardless, everyone had fun and it brought people together for a fun day in the sun.

The last part of our trip was in Santa Cruz, CA for the Santa Cruz Paddle Festival. It was three days of SUP surfing and racing. I went to this event last year and enjoyed myself so much I had to come back again. Plus, my husband didn't get to go last year so I felt it was only right to take him this year. Not only did I get to surf and race but the cliffs in Santa Cruz surrounding the surf break create an amphitheatre from which to watch. This provided a perfect setting to capture some awesome photographs of the surfers competing. It was amazing to get so close to the action and get some shots. Usually the surf break is much farther out and without a massive lens, I am left to dream of the action shots I could be taking. Not in Santa Cruz though! There I could take photos until my hearts content. 

Alas, the weekend had to end and my California dream was over. It was time to take the long road home so we could go back to work.  Before getting home we got the pleasure of driving through several snowstorms and a lot of rain. It wasn't all that pleasant but my husband was a trooper and drove through it all. I on the other hand slept. Basically, I am like a 29 year old child that goes and goes and goes until I wear myself out and have to go into a nap coma.

I was worried about living in a van for three weeks with limited space. I love my husband but I thought being that close for three weeks would get old. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. We had fun and didn't annoy each other.....that much. My next adventure is starting tomorrow and I will be living with my two dogs (Stella the Rottweiler and Guinness the Morkie) in Tofino. The plan is to take photos for the surf schools there and teach SUP. My husband will be joining when he isn't working. Only time will tell if I get tired of the #vanlife.

Life is an adventure; depart the mundane.

Genna @ Departure Photography

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