Finding gold at the end of the road from Santa Cruz to Tofino
By Teddy Miller
Fifteen-hundred miles, 10 surfboards, five friends, one pile of ripe booties, and one mid-nineties Ford Club Wagon Van. It turns out these are the recipe for the trip of a lifetime. The success of this adventure (which entailed a road trip from Santa Cruz to Tofino, Vancouver in the spring of 2017) wasn’t due to mind-blowing surf, but rather to the cast of characters involved. Dane Anderson, from Carmel, is the human embodiment of his quirky van. He is the funniest person I’ve ever encountered, and has a smooth, timeless style of surfing. Noah Wegrich, out of Santa Cruz, is a goldendoodle puppy trapped inside the body of a lanky, goofy footer. He is perpetually stoked, with an uncanny ability to sniff out a barrel and throw the tail of his board around with ease. The star of the trip, Sara Taylor, not only rips, but also endured countless hours of banter in the van with four boisterous guys. Perry Gershkow, a longtime best friend of mine, hopped aboard to film the journey.
Gale-force Northwest winds picked up on day two and didn’t let up for the majority of our time on the road—West Coast springtime at its finest. We plowed up the highway past an eternity of white caps and “almost good” set ups, hell-bent on finding surf in the nooks and crannies of anywhere with south-facing coastline. We found plenty of fun waves, each with a more beautiful backdrop than the next. It was hard to keep my finger off the shutter, as any maneuver felt amplified beneath the lush cliffs of the Pacific Northwest. We camped on the beach, drank too many beers, shot those beer cans with a BB gun, explored ghost towns, skated curbs at every gas station, hiked through miles of forest, and, eventually, scored the waves we’d been looking for.
All of the driving and hours spent on Google Earth paid off in the form of perfect lefts wedging and spitting way down the beach. Gershkow and I were still navigating the driftwood piles with our gear as Anderson, Waggy, and Taylor blew past us in full sprint. Pure excitement resonated throughout the empty cove as they made off into the distance, yelling and hooting with the arrival of each empty set.