I grew up watching the videos of the Younguns, Tribe and Airborn crews running riot on the monstrous wave of Quebec. So three years ago when I got an invite into the White Water Grang Prix as one of the youngest competitors, I instantly thought that I would be able to show up and rock it on these big waves. Ego inflated, wallet empty and hopes high I flew to Canada for my first Stakeout season. Dreams of double airscrews and thoughts of endless combo potential quickly gave way to a harsh reality of wipeoputs, beatdowns, frustration, and cold. It is not as easy as it looks on the videos.
The edits I watched as a kid gave a brief glimpse into the magical moments of Stakeout that are only possible in this area of the world. The videos neglected to show the harsh realities of pushing your self on this type of white water and the time and effort that goes into each and every ride.
Big waves give up brutal wipeouts.
You will eat it
Surfing big waves requires years of experience. Until you learn the subtleties of surfing big waves, you can count on having some of the harshest wipeouts of your life.
The full rinse cycle is a common occurrence.
You will be tired and cold (really cold)
The Stakeout season is the most active I am all year long. A typical circuit on a big wave will involve sprinting to the wave, surfing the wave, sprinting back to the eddy to avoid a huge hole and then hiking back up to do it all again. Add this to the energy sapping temperatures and you have all the ingredients to be utterly shattered by the end of the day. It is cold, really cold. In fact, somedays it is miserably cold. Frozen equipment and chilblains are all in a days work during the early days of the Stakeout season.
Snowmelt in northern Canada comes with extra helpings of cold.
You will (eventually) go huge
If you are prepared to deal with all of the above and stick at it, sooner or later you will be rewarded with the biggest trick of your life. Which makes every single failed surf, wipeout and uncontrolled shiver worth it and keeps me coming back year after year.
This moment is worth all the suffering.
See you on the water, Bren
Photos by Seth Ashworth and Wally Mistassibbi
About the author
About the author
Bren is know for huge freestyle moves, as well as his trademark flair and creativity. With Impressive results in The Whitewater Grand Prix, Bren's been racking up freestyle and racing results alongside the best in the world. To be found on tour in the US, travelling the world, or going huge at the UK's freestyle venues, Bren's equally at home on huge rapids and waterfalls.