Local windsurfer Jesse Jared Cohen performs an off the lip aerial at South Chesterman Beach on Jan. 1,2020. (Natalie Weeks photo)

Vancouver Island windsurfers revel in adrenaline on Jan. 1

“I saw the forecast and went to bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve to be up early.”

West Coast windsurfer Jesse Jared Cohen scored a memorable holiday bonus on New Year’s Day.

With wind up to 35 knots blasting Tofino beaches, Cohen said it was the perfect way to kick off 2020.

“I saw the forecast and went to bed well before midnight on New Year’s Eve to be up early. This day was more of a celebration,” said Cohen.

He was joined in the water by friends Dave Billenness from Victoria, Adrian Bright from Nanaimo, Vickey Abbott from Oregon, and Hajo Meijer from Duncan.

Meijer told the Westerly he had windsurfed in Parksville the day before.

“It’s been a windy Christmas holiday,” said Meijer. “The quick New Year’s day trip to Tofino was a little touch and go. We weren’t sure it was going to happen. It’s a special thing. Often wind doesn’t materialize in Tofino, but when it happens it’s simply amazing,” he said.

Cohen concurred.

“It’s rare to get days like this, and to have it land on a holiday is a bonus,” he said. “Some of my earliest memories are on Chestermans, and developing the skill to be able to windsurf in our local picturesque spot is a lot of fun. I feel at home here doing something I love.”

The swell was an added challenge, notes Meijer.

“Wave riding is challenging for me. It was inspiring to be windsurfing with professionals like Vickey Abbott. It was a really awesome and humbling experience,” said Meijer.

Cohen, who is part of the Goya Windsurfing team, said it’s going to be an exciting year.

“I want to thank all my friends, family, teammates, photographers, sponsors and Mother Nature for everything,” he said.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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