A man from Mitchell watched Tropical Storm Fiona roll into Atlantic Canada from a surfboard out on the water.

Three weeks ago, 20-year-old Emmett Gerbrandt says he hitchhiked to the east coast as an adventure. He only found out Tropical Storm Fiona was bearing down while in Newfoundland. 

“I was up in St. Johns and heard about the hurricane coming and I was like 'oh man, I don't want to be on this rock during the hurricane’ and so I was frantically trying to make my way back and also wanted to make it down to Halifax.” 

That’s where the surfing came into play. Gerbrandt notes “I really wanted to surf this hurricane swell and I have heard there is good surfing in Halifax. Through a friend of a friend, I came into contact with somebody in Halifax, stayed at their place and on Friday, just before the hurricane hit, I went and surfed and it was awesome.” 

Gerbrandt says he never expected to find himself in a situation like this. 

“It was pretty surreal just sitting out there on your board as the waves rolled in. It was just me and another guy for most of it but at one point, I was just sitting there alone in the rain, watching this dark system over the ocean move in and it was a pretty surreal experience but it was really fun.” 

Listen to the whole interview with Emmett:

He and his new friend then hunkered down in Halifax to weather the tropical storm.  

“It was definitely my first experience with a hurricane. There was quite a bit of damage. Me and my friend drove around Halifax just looking at these huge uprooted trees and some damage to cars.” 

Gerbrandt notes most of the people he has talked to since have been fairly optimistic, adding “I had a ride with one lady whose shingles got ripped off and her house flooded and she was just laughing about talking to the insurance guy.” 

Travelling to Halifax turned out to be a good decision. Gerbrandt says places like Cape Breton and Newfoundland got hit much harder. 

“Where I was, Port aux Basque, houses got washed into the sea and I was like 'yeah it was definitely a good move to get off of Newfoundland.” 

The whole journey has been one wild ride.