by Justin Coffey

I started surfing when I was sixteen. Sometimes I tell people it was when I was six or seven years old, but that’s bull. My old man used to drive me to the ocean, to a really small fishing town along Washington’s southwest coast. It was there I would wear my first wetsuit and play in the whitewater atop a surfboard that had seen better days. It wasn’t until I was able to drive myself that I truly started surfing. And so at sixteen, after I had acquired my driver’s license and a clapped out 80’s Suburban, I drove west on my own, searching for surf for the first time in the often fickle, always interesting Pacific Northwest.

Growing up in this area offers a lot of opportunities, all of the ‘ings.’ Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and yes, even surfing. It’s easy for someone to be alright at all sorts of activities. And so went a number of my early years, spent exploring all of the options. I played ice hockey and lacrosse, rode mountain bikes and became a Boy Scout. I spent my summers outside. Only sometimes surfing. But after a while it became all to clear that I wasn’t good at any one thing, just alright at all of them.

Surfing in the Pacific Northwest requires commitment, time, money, a reliable rig, good gear and a willingness to explore. However, to become a successful surfer only requires one thing––waves. And so in my quest to become better, to become a good surfer, not just an alright one, I have spent countless days driving to and from the west coast of Washington, sleeping in my camper converted cargo van, searching for surf.

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Surf, Camp, Repeat. Overlanding to the Perfect Set.

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About the Author: Justin Coffey