When I first heard of Phoxx Ekcs and his planned Vancouver Island expedition I knew I wanted to interview him. Here is a young primitive skills expert planning a sea kayak expedition, not only Vancouver Island but eventually along the Inside Passage to Alaska. An intriguing video on Facebook released to announce his trip to the world and raise funding for the documentation of the expedition (Phoxx will go on the trip whether or not he is able to meet his fundraising goal) didn't give many specifics, but rather raised a lot of questions. Like his name, "Phoxx Ekcs". Is "Phoxx" like "fox"? Does it refer to a totem animal, his nonhuman guide through both the physical and spiritual world? Does "Ekcs" refer to the letter "X", the symbol of the independent and unknown variable? His Facebook page says he's living in Utah. How much sea kayaking do they do there? Is he really not going to be bringing along any food or toilet paper?
Actually I didn't ask him any of those questions. We had plenty of other things to talk about. When I emailed him to introduced myself, I said I knew Kiliii, who had taught him how to build skin-on-frame kayaks. We arranged an interview through Skype, to discuss his upcoming 28 day ("one moon cycle") primitive expedition on Vancouver Island. I hastily set up a couple video cameras to record it.
Phoxx has taught primitive living skills for the past 5 years. His passion for whatever he does, whether it is slacklining, whitewater kayaking, or sea kayaking, really came through in the interview. There also was a sense that he desperately needed to do this trip, to finally put himself and his skills to the test, and that nothing was going to stop him.
Primitive living seems to mesh well with traditional kayaks. The trend toward traditional kayaking has presented a challenge to the idea that major kayak expeditions can only be completed with modern (and expensive) kayaks and paddles constructed from high-tech materials. Kiliii Yu demonstrated the durability of traditional skin-on-frame construction in challenging coastal conditions with his successful 31-day trip along the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Accepting the idea the one can complete an expedition living primitively, leaving civilization with only a stone knife and handmade leather clothes, requires a paradigm shift, because preparing for an expedition typically involves acquiring the best gear you can afford -- alpine tents, sleeping bags, freeze dried foods, and satellite phones -- because your life might depend on your stuff. When Phoxx paddles out of Port Hardy this August, he won't even be bringing any food or water with him. He will be living intimately with the environment and not merely passing through as quickly as possible sealed in a GoreTex drysuit.
This is an expedition that deserves to be documented and I encourage everyone to consider donating to the Full Circle Kayak Kickstart fund which will go to cover the expense of documenting the trip through photography and video.