Drift catches up with Portuguese genius photographer Hugo Silva, owner of www.undonephotos.com. Born on the south coast of Portugal in Portimão, Hugo now finds himself plying his trade near Lisbon in Carcavelos. His challenge has always been to capture the perfect swell, that one wave or the big manoeuvre.

Portugal has a massive open secret... Follow Matt Button to discover what is going down.

Looking to the future with an eye firmly on the past, Tom Wegener has reintroduced the transport of kings to surfing's elite. His boards are works of art, but it's his veg patch that really floating Tom's boat right now... Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Jamie Bott

Photographer Ben Thouard joins the Oxbow team aboard the Windward as they trawl pristine Pacific atolls in search of adventure, virgin waves and new opportunities.

A tale of surfing reefs in South Africa, but not knowing what you get yourself into. Drift contributor Tim Conibear points a finger at localism and finds three more pointing right back. Photos: Mike Reich

Mark Sankey discusses the merits and faults of EPS with two of Britain's finest craftsmen, Mark Dickinson and Rob Lion, both of whom have been shaping the stuff with style for a good few years now... [photos by Ollie Banks]

Chris Preston chats to longboard maestro Steve Walden about his disappointment with the lack of recognition for the longboarding scene, what makes the Magic model magic, and working with GSI. Photos: Jamie Bott

God Went Surfing with The Devil is a film by Alex Klein, which documents the war-torn region of Gaza. At a time when tensions are high, this film investigates the attitudes and aspirations of a small pocket of people where surfing removes socio-political divisions and lets the ocean carry their aspirations for peace.

When it comes to surfcraft there's a newcomer making waves. Drift discovers the new world of handplaning with Cornwall's finest craftsmen. Words: Clare Howdle

Sean Mattison has a reputation as a designer, a coach, and a businessman. His competitive experience, retail background and knowledge acquired from testing hundreds of surfboards made him one of the most versatile surfers in California. Words: Rui Ribeiro.

In early 2008, longtime buddies Billy Hume, Jeff Myers, Joey Carter and Ben McBrien got together for a trip off the beaten track trip in search of waves and adventure. They headed for the icy waters of Alaska... Words: Jeff Myers Photos: Nick LaVecchia


West Coast Wilderness


May 05, 2010 | Words By: SWAP

tofino-openerNestled on the west coast next to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Tofino is home to a small community with a rich cultural heritage, grounded in their amazingly beautiful surroundings.

It’s refreshing to visit towns like this – it seems that everyone you meet is into the outdoors, and fishing, surfing, hiking and yoga play a big part in most people’s lives here. And because their leisure time is so dependent on their natural surroundings, locals look after more than just their own backyards. The town has even introduced bylaws that minimise the colonisation of the town by global brands, so hopefully this means the likes of Starbucks and McDonalds will be kept firmly at arm’s length for years to come.

tofino-canadaThe road into town is long and winding; we meandered through snow-capped peaks and passed bright blue lakes before reaching the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – 511 square kilometres of rugged coastline and dense forest. Tofino nestles at the northern end of Long Beach, the most accessible of the Reserve’s three sites. The surf here is predominantly beach break waves; recognisable spots include Chestermans (which hit the global surf scene when local pro Pete Devries took the top spot here at the recent WQS O’Neill Cold Water Classic), Cox Bay and sections of Long Beach itself, depending on the swell and winds.

tofino-canada2The isolation, minimal transport routes and relatively long drive from serious civilisation make Tofino a weekend destination at best for the city crowds of Victoria and the surrounding suburbs. Saying that, surfing’s pretty massive in Canada, and as I paddled out on my first morning at Chestermans, I was greeted by a relatively large crowd already in the water.

If you’ve got a boat and some local knowledge, there’s no doubt that a bit of seabound exploration would turn up some secret spots, and with literally miles of beach and shifting peaks, it’s always possible to find a quiet place to surf. It’s the kind of area where you have to keep checking the banks along the bay – similar to the south of France, where certain spots are susceptible to tidal changes and alterations in sand banks – so a taking a little time to explore really pays off. Tofino is exposed to huge, relentless swells, and as a result there is usually somewhere to find a wave. Water temperatures drop to around 9-10C during the winter, and remain relatively low year-round, which tends to deter the less hardy surfer, but I never found it that traumatic. A good winter suit’s all you really need.

tofino-canada1I hit on a nice little left, breaking off a finger of rock, that wedged up in the corner and peeled its way onto the beach. I had the peak all to myself, or so I thought. It was only my girlfriend waving frantically from the beach that alerted me to the grey whale calming navigating around the rocks next to me.

Despite the rugged beauty of this area and the potential for quality waves, development in Tofino has remained relatively controlled, and a little solitude still exists on this portion of the wild west coast. Cold water might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but perhaps that’s a good thing.

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