PHOTOS: Stormy conditions delight Vancouver Island windsurfers

Alex Parker gets some air time as he sails over a wave. (Michael Briones photo)Alex Parker gets some air time as he sails over a wave. (Michael Briones photo)
Sailing over the waves. (Michael Briones photo)Sailing over the waves. (Michael Briones photo)
Chris Gill gets a lift from a wave. (Michael Briones photo)Chris Gill gets a lift from a wave. (Michael Briones photo)
Dave Houseman goes over a wave as he heads out to the open sea. (Michael Briones photo)Dave Houseman goes over a wave as he heads out to the open sea. (Michael Briones photo)
Alex Parker cruises over the waves. (Michael Briones photo)Alex Parker cruises over the waves. (Michael Briones photo)
Dave Houseman rides the waves. (Michael Briones photo)Dave Houseman rides the waves. (Michael Briones photo)

Heavy recent winds that hit Vancouver Island had many people staying inside their homes.

But there are those who welcomed the big gusts, which at times reached 100 kilometres per hour.

This is the type of weather windsurfers in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area long for. And they were out at Columbia Beach in French Creek on Monday, riding across the water, braving the wild waves and chilly conditions.

“Nothing else matters once were out there,” said Bill Jennings of Nanaimo. “They love coming to Columbia Beach simply because it offers one of the best wind conditions here on the Island. It’s the windiest place here in our area.That’s why we like this place.”

One French Creek windsurfer, who did not wish to be named, moved to the area from Victoria because of the windsurfing conditions.

“This is the best windsurfing spot on the Island in the water,” said the French Creek resident. “Because of global warming, the winds are not as strong and not as often as anymore it seems. So people are looking for ways to get out earlier and more often. I was probably one of the most prolific sailors on the Island and I would get between a hundred and 120 in a year.”

READ MORE: Canadian surf champions crowned at Cox Bay in Tofino

Aries Manlig, who is also from Parksville Qualicum Beach, came out for a day of fun.

“It’s nice to be out there and be in tune with nature,” said Manlig. “You connect with the water, the waves and the wind and also feel your surrounding as well as the temperature. When you’re out there nothing really matters. It’s great to be out there.”

Jennings, who has been in the sport for more than 30 years, agreed.

“To be out there, it gives you this incredible sensation that’s indescribable. One you’re connected to the board and sail, you can relax your hands and let the wind do the work. It’s like riding the wind. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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