A path is something we can follow but we can also create our own. Most of the time, it’s a little bit of both. Emre Bosut’s path has always been tied to nature, more specifically water. It all started with his personal experience with summer camp and then later on working for years as a camp counsellor, but it’s while he was in high school in Hamilton ON that he was introduced to whitewater kayaking by a school teacher that his passion for water, paddling and the outdoors really cemented.
“One thing I liked about kayaking is that there was this whole other world that we were part of. There were like five kids at school that were into it and we were kind of part of a secret club. It helped build that sense of belonging. You have this whole other thing you’re part of that most people don’t understand and it becomes almost the main focus.”
It’s also through his summer job at the camp that he got to discover British Columbia for the first time. He jumped on the opportunity he had to work at different YMCA camps and spent a first summer working on the Sunshine Coast.
“BC is like an endless playground. It was on that trip that I came to Tofino for the first time, at the end of that summer. I tried regular surfing for the first time. I had always heard of how hard it was and although it wasn’t easy and it was humbling, it wasn’t the impossible task it was supposed to be.”
He was hooked, both on the place and the sport. For a few years after that, he kept going back to that job and always tried to make the time for a surf trip to Tofino.
“I’ve always felt really passionate about the ocean. I don’t know what it is, the feedback, the energy. What surfing gives to me is amazing. It’s a great feeling that lets you exist in this dynamic and changing environment. Sitting in the surf, sitting in the ocean, watching things change, trying to understand this thing that is always evolving. It’s that idea too, when you’re on a wave, you’re very much in the moment. It’s sort of an escape. Even if you’re completely present, you’re away from everything else.”
Between the camp and working as a raft guide, he spent most of his time working outdoors when not in school, but Emre didn’t plan on doing that his entire life. He had other goals, he wanted to travel. After being done with his degree, he decided it was time for him to discover the world, but not before getting to know one of our gems, the Canadian Rockies.
“While there, I ran into a coworker that gave me a ride. I asked how he was doing and he answered “Not bad but I’d rather be surfing.” I said, “You know what? So would I!” That season in the mountains got cut short to go spend a spring in Tofino. I delayed my travel plans for another year and spent a year here because I wanted to experience what it was to spend a winter here when the swells are pumping.”
That winter on the West coast of Vancouver Island only heightened his love for surfing and for the area, but deep inside he still had that desire to travel. He made it happen, made the most of it, but after almost two years abroad in France and Central America, he felt the need to settle down. Emre was dreaming of a home break.
“I wanted to live somewhere where I could surf every day and I wanted to be in Canada because I felt that throughout my travels, there was always a little bit of a disconnect. As an expat, I wouldn’t have the same connection to the community that I could develop in Canada. That didn’t leave me with many options.”
It seemed like no matter where he went or what he did, his path always led him to the beautiful land of Tofino, but working there as a seasonal worker and living there full time, wanting to make it home were two different things. He had to find a way to make it work long term. For him, guiding was natural and something he had a lot of experience with. As paddle boarding got more popular, the experienced paddler he was realized it would be a great vessel to take people on out tours.
“It was a slow start. I was a sea kayak guide at that time. The company started over a number of years. I started by purchasing a couple of paddle boards and learned how to register a company online, learned how to make a website. Had lots of free time over the winter which allowed me to slowly build that.”
As he spent more time in the area, he also got to discover the richness of the Clayoquot culture and history. Meeting his girlfriend, Tsimka, who is Clayoquot helped him learn and understand more and together, they ended up combining their experiences and ideas together to found T’ashii Paddle School.
“Through her, a big part of what we wanted to do with this is expand in the cultural education. We take people out on canoe tours. It opens the door to educate people on the larger history of this area and to make a connection between indigenous and non indigenous people.”
T’ashii is a Clayoquot word that signifies a path on land or on water. It is a similar path that has lead Emre to Tofino somehow and it is also what they try to do with their business, taking people on that path and show them what this place means to them.
“I think I just feel very lucky to have found such a special spot and to have made a connection to the area. This phenomenally beautiful area also has so many layers wether it’s culturally or environmentally. What a cool thing that it’s no longer just about the surf, but there is also all these other things happening. I feel lucky to have experienced that and I want to share that with people.”
Trying to find his path, trying to find home, it seems Emre has found a greater purpose, one that will hopefully impact many the same way nature and the Clayoquot area and people have impacted him. We wish him and Tsimka great success in all their endeavour.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is not path and leave a trail.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson