Photographer:James Barkman
Camera:Minolta XE-7
Film:Kodak Portra 400, Ektar 100

Swell Searching Along the Oregon Coast

Chasing waves and Sasquatch sightings with a few fellow #vanlife enthusiasts

Surfing in the Pacific Northwest is no good. Finding a wave can mean a short and sweet, 10 minute drive to the beach, or it can mean a 3 hour mission both on four wheels and two feet, racing against the wind and tide. That said, anyone who’s hiked the miles and braved the ice cream headaches to score an empty lineup knows that the desire for more cannot be quenched. 

Recently, in an effort to stave off cabin fever and double my surf crew, I invited Sean Collier to hop on a plane and come surf some cold Northwest waves for a week. Sean is a charger from Santa Barbara and fellow van dude, and has a fro that would have sparked envy in the heart of Michael Jackson. I picked him up from the Portland airport, and with a parking lot backfire that threw airport security into code red we set off for the coast. 

After showing Sean around the central coast for a couple days—i.e. mostly waiting on swell to materialize—we met up with another good homie, Caleb Babcock, and his brother Kyle. Caleb pilots an ’85 vanagon and is not afraid to send her deep. Seriously. While hunting for a campsite our first night Caleb unflinchingly decided to whip his rig down a steep, muddy forest road and immediately got stuck. And of course, it wasn’t until the wee hours of the morn that we were finally able to pull him out, thanks to my trusty van and two sketchy ratchet straps. 

The next few days were spent hiking to undisclosed surf locations, filling every spare moment with laughs, hoots, and hollers. Sasquatch, however, remains at large.

in need of more #vanlife adventures? Check out James' recent trips to Iceland and Joshua Tree

Photographer, surfer, thrill seeker, and life enthusiast, James has called the road—and his faithful but not necessarily trusty 1976 VW Type 2 van—home for the past few years with no plans to stop anytime soon. Currently boondockin’ around the Pacific Northwest with his DR350 dual sport in tow.
Related Reading:
Perfectly Imperfect: Storm Surfing in the Pacific Northwest
#Vanlife Chaos in Northern Africa
Slurpee Wave Hunting in Rural New England
The Great Ocean Road (Trip)