Drift catches up with multi-award winning photographer Lucia Griggi whose office is the ocean and who is one of the most respected surf photographers in a male dominated industry. www.luciagriggi.com

Matt Rohrer shares some of the highlights of his conversations with Bay Area surfer Jimmy Holt, focal point of one of the few surfing photos to ever appear in National Geographic Magazine. Selected photos: Jim Shaw

One of the great things about surfing in this current era is the wide acceptance of different board designs. Over the last 10 years, it has become acceptable to pretty much ride anything from surfmat to singlefin, fish to longboard. Words: Chris Preston Photo (2): Dan Crockett

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

The Mentawais have given a lot to surfers; now it's time to give something back. Kate and Luke Gerson celebrate the beauty of these islands and highlight the continued need for aid following the recent earthquake.

Cyrus Sutton made an impression on the international film circuit with his 2003 breakthrough movie 'Riding Waves'. Now the EMMY award-winning documentary maker has turned his attention to the divergent surf scenes of Australia's Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Courtesy of Cyrus Sutton

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]

From WQS warrior to independent filmmaker via a AUS$27,000 debt, Johnny Abegg has trod an unconventional path through life so far, and proves that a relentlessly positive outlook and upbeat character can see you through the toughest times... Words: Mark Sankey Photos: Johnny Abegg

Highs and lows in Morocco. Photos and words by Dan Crockett.

A sign on the 130-year-old pier at Saltburn-by-the-Sea warns people not to jump off it. On a big surf day surfers make their way to the end of the sturdy 206 metre structure and jump like lemmings into the cold, murky North Sea. Words: Simon Palmer Photos: Ian Forsyth

Hidden away in a Falmouth boatyard among the classic lines of traditional timber ships is an unusual surfboard factory: one in which the boards are finished with wood and natural oils. Here tradition meets modernism. This is Glass Tiger. Words: Mark Sankey Action photos: Kirstin Prisk Other photos & design: Alexa Poppe


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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