When I first heard that primitive skills expert Phoxx Ekcs was planning an expedition along Vancouver Island's north coast I knew I needed to talk to him. An intriguing video on Facebook announced his trip to the world to help raise funding for the documentation of the trip (Phoxx plans to go whether or not he is able to meet his fundraising goal). The video didn't offer many specifics, but rather raised plenty 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 going without 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 Yu, who had taught him how to build skin-on-frame kayaks. Later we talked over Skype and discussed his upcoming 28 day ("one moon cycle") primitive expedition on Vancouver Island.
Phoxx has taught primitive living skills since age 16. He seems to be very passionate about passion for whatever he does, whether it is slacklining, whitewater kayaking, or sea kayaking. I also got the impression 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.