joshcrossman's Submission - Entered on 7/17/2015 2:42:00 PM
|Return to Current Rivers Page|
|Skookumchuck Rapids (B.C.)
Avg Gradient 0 fpm
Max Gradient 0 fpm
Play Rating (1-10): 10
|Put In Longitude
|Put In Latitude
|Take Out Longitude
|Take Out Latitude
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at )
Access to the Skook is a pretty easy thing. You just drive out to Edgmont which is a small town on the North East tip of the SunShine Coast. Once you are there head over to the Egmont Marina.
Parking for the putin can cause problems depending on where you go and who you know. If you park in the general stores parking lot you will create some problems for yourself for Sure. There is also a small gravel lot just above the Marinaís Public use dock where you can park for a fee. There is public parking right at the trailhead, be sure not to drive down the trailhead road, for private use only, they will tow.
The skook can be accessed two different ways. Some people choose to hike in on a 2 mile long trail, others like to paddle in on a 1.2 mile paddle. Paddling is faster but requires more attention to the tide tables. Paddlers should only head out 30 minutes prior to the Slack Tide. In other words begin your paddle as the Ebb tide is dying down. You will have to fight a little current, but it is not that bad.
The take out is obviously the same as the Put In. You can hike back out or paddle to the marina. If you paddle you will have to work to get around a few of the coves that have a good amount of current coming in.
The skookumchuck narrows boasts the fastest tidal currents in the world, and although I can not verify it, I do believe it.
Run Description [Season: Year Round]
Now thereís quality. Iíd heard all kinds of stories about the skook. Been told all about the scary stuff down stream. The crowd in the eddy. The wave... but nothing prepared me for the quality of experience.
Maybe itís being in another country where a ferry ride drops one off on a pennisula connected to the mainland, but where no road can go. Think of it... just west of the Ashlu sits Skook. Yet from Squamish itís down and around.
OK, so Iíve made two trips to the place in the last 4wks (iíve still got sea water rattling around in my head). I will now think of my kayaking life as pre and post skook. For all that have never tried the ride. Fear not. Itís a very forgiving place (yet can be quite intimidating). Just donít swim, unless your desire for swimming is all consuming. That said, if one does swim it is not the end of the world, just the end of your session. I watched a vancuver kanuck swim after some weak and probably tired attempts at rolling. His buddy was kind enough to spend the next 45 min sorting through the mess. The paddler managed to ride out the swirlies and get back into his boat while on tour- a feat. I watched some from the shore, not pretty as one who has been there to see the tour might imagine.
So being on schedule is very important. You do not want to miss that ferry ride if you are planning on surfing that day. Plan at least an 1.5 hr of driving from the terminal to the marina. Slow going through towns and curvy roads in rain. Jon and I missed the ferry ride home and sat at the terminal shooting the breeze for the following two hours. We were just glad we didnít miss the ferry ride into the pennisula on the day we came. Playing on the rocks in Squamish might make you late. Then, thereís the 45m paddle in. Watch for Sea lions.
MY first trip, March 29-April 1, was a blast and set the standard in my mind for what constitutes a quality experience at the Skook. It was an educational event. School was in session. The campfire at Klein lake went late into the night.
The following day(FRI), the Seattle crew packed bags and roadtripped home. Personally, I think itís a tragic thing to leave a place in need of romancing. But duty does prevail in many areas of a personís life ( whatever that mumbo jumbo means). Jon and I spent that morning afternoon recovering from the previous nights festivities with naps, eats and more pregame festivities in preparation for the 3m hike to the Skook. Iím not sure whatís more fun, the anticipation of what the next evening session will bring or the actual ride fest. Donít forget to pack a flashlight for the hike out if the wave peaks in the evening.
One of my favorite parts about the trips was the hike out. Through the ephemereal twilight of dusk as darkness closes in on the shadows of the day.
We would hike in the following Sat. morning to recover our boats by paddling them back out during the daylight and with the ebb flow. That worked well. By the end of our trip at the Skook we had hiked the trail 6X. Jon will tell you to plan on bringing your shoes - NOT to walk out in your booties :).
Two weeks following the first trip, I returned to the Skook with my wonderful wife who had heard my exaggerated tales and volunteered to hike in with me and shoot pics of me trying to look cool on the biggest wave Iíd ever surfed. Sheís used to the toughest of camping but on our second trip we had to endure endless rain. And it was cold. Very cold. Temps hovered around 38-42 throughout the days. So cold that when we did leave there was snow falling in Sechelt, which happens to be ocean side. So the weather was not pleasant. Somewhere during this time I promised that I would spend more money on a second kit of paddling clothes so not to have to spend so much time trying to dry out the damp stuff from night before. Moreover, we were alone. Good company can inspire moral during hardship.
A few other notes for folks:
On flows: 10.5 - 15.5 seems ideal; some say it can go below 10, but window is small. The surf before max to my mind was easier to attain from eddy below and the eddy below the point was a little simpler, but it's good to go usually 1.5-2hrs before and after. Once you get within 30 minutes of max, you really have to get out of your boat and drop in from above; there is an easy ramp / eddy right there. After max, you need to drop in for much of the time. Above 15 the tour can be rowdy-- if you don't make the immediate eddy, don't fight the boils and just take the class IV ride down the wave train. Go just right of the crashing waves, but left of the boil lines. The boils are where the whirlpools/funky stuff are, and that's what you want to avoid. Some folks recommend an implosion bar / beach ball/ something to keep your skirt on if you get sucked into a whirlpool.