Affable Australian surf photographer Andrew Shield generally plies his trade in subtropical and equatorial waters. Get him further from the equator than, say, Sydney any time in winter and his tanned complexion takes on a slightly jaundiced hue.
No, our hero generally ranges from Northern New South Wales to Hawaii, with the Telos as his prime natural habitat.
But adversity builds character, as they say, and so the kind folk at Pegasus Lodges thought it best to send Shieldsy to Nootka Island, in British Columbia, to document a season preview trip to Nootka Wilderness Lodge, and to harden up a bit.
Nootka Wilderness Ldge, is a popular fishing base in Nootka Sound – a 50-minute seaplane ride from Vancouver airport. And for years it’s been where keen fishermen with an adventurous streak fly in to catch seriously mega-sized Salmon and Halibut, while black bears amble around on the shoreline, whales breach, bald eagles soar overhead, and nature generally does its best to be majestic.
But there’s another natural element, a short boat ride away, that features an abundance of quality, uncrowded surf.
“Yeah, good waves hey,” reckons Shieldsy, thawing out back home on the GC. “We were only there for a few days and didn’t come close to sussing out a fifth of the spots, but what we saw was quality.
“Nootka’s actually a floating lodge, set in this crazy landscape. One moment you’re in Vancouver, then less than an hour later you’re taxi-ing into the lodge on a seaplane – it’s a cold-water Fantasy Island. The scenery … If you don’t just stand there, look around and go ‘Fffaaaarrrrk!’ every now and again, you’re not looking too hard.
“It’s more of an adventure than just a surf trip. You load up the boat, head up the sound out to the ocean, surf for a couple of hours, then on the way home you’ll fish for a while, then go check the traps for crabs and prawns, then mosey back to the lodge and have an arvo beer on the deck while they cook dinner up for you. If you’re into seafood, the Dungeness Crab’s worth the trip alone.
“The guys are gonna run some surf charters there October through to early November. They’re getting Pete Devries on board as a guide. I’d be stoked to go back and shoot there, get some sunny days and catch a big salmon… Dunno ‘bout any later than November though, It wouldn’t be what you’d call warm.”