Viktor Okunev goes for an incredible solo inflatable paddle board and windsurfing adventure deep into British Columbia’s unmistakable & beautiful wilderness.
Harrison Lake is the largest lake in the southern Coast Mountains of Canada, being about 250 square km in area. It is about 60 km (37 mi) in length and at its widest almost 9 km (5.6 mi) across. Viktor used the Starboard SUP Windsurfing Inflatable paddleboard to complete this solo adventure.
“I never paddled this lake before. It just somehow felt too raw to my liking. On the few occasions I’ve been there, it felt cold, intimidating in size, windy and surrounded by the rough and dusty logging roads full of reckless yahoos on 4x4s. But there is a first time for everything, especially if you think you’ve got the means of harnessing that wild wind with your SUP Windsurfer setup. Inevitably, we got properly aquatinted this Labour Day long weekend.
After spending three nights on the shores of this gentle giant, I fell in love with it and I hope the feeling is mutual. When the lake sleeps, it breathes calmly, filling your sail with just enough air to keep your paddle tucked under the bungee straps. And then, late in the afternoon, the giant wakes up.
First, it stretches, sending a few fresh blows into your sail. This is the time to focus, because in a few minutes you’ll find yourself in a middle of a boiling pot. I sailed to the Bear Creek campsite area and stretched my hammock right on the beach. Not a single soul came to disturb my peace there. I felt like there is some really good energy flows over the lake. All you need is to tune in. The way I’ve done it is by overcoming my fear to sail its churning waters, alone, with no support and no means for the rescue. The boats just don’t listen on the VHF channel 16 there.
The water was surprisingly pretty warm. On my final day, I decided to beat the wind and paddle for about 20km back first thing in the morning. I was jumping off the board to swim every 30 minutes or so to prevent overheating. This lake has so much potential for the dedicated explorer. I will be back for sure.”