A profile of shaper Chris Jones: If you surf sooner or later you’ll end up at Chris Jones’ door. Who else can offer you fifty years of shaping experience? Who else was there at the beginning? CJ, legendary shaper/surfer, rugby fanatic, pasty connoisseur is this morning sanding down a vintage Tiki for restoration.

When the ‘Apocalypse Now’ film crew packed up and left the Philippine coastal town of Baler, they left one important item behind – a surfboard. More than 30 years on and this quiet backwater is home to a stoked crew of welcoming locals. Words: Mark Sankey Photos: Alexa Poppe

Devastated by more than a decade of civil war, the Republic of Liberia is still in a serious state of flux. Could surfing bring a new hope and more peaceful future to this West African nation? Words & photos: Nicholai Lidow & Kate Thomas. Additional photos: Ted Grambeau & Jamie Bott

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]

When legendary longboard designer Bob McTavish came to Devon recently as part of TIKI's international shaper tour, Chris Preston couldn't resist the opportunity to quiz him about the technicalities of board design... Photos: Jamie Bott

When his career as a pro surfer was ended by cancer, Richie Lovett forged a new career in the manufacturing industry. Now he's singing the praises of machine-shaping technology. Words: Chris Preston Photos: Jamie Bott

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.

A worthy addition to European surfing culture, the surfilmfestibal festival attempts to connect the global surfing community through moving picture, art and education. Words: Howard Swanwick. Photos: surfilmfestibal

London ad exec Tom Birmingham set off in November in search of adventure on the Southwest Indian coastline. Accompanied by guesthouse owners Ed and Sofie of Soul and Surf in Kerala, he soon found himself surfing uncharted waves to an audience of school children and fisherman. Words and Photos: Tom Birmingham

A world away from the average commercial surf competition, pushy dads and nervous groms, generations share the stoke at a contest that celebrates the original Hawaiian spirit. This is truly a unique perspective in surfing. Photos: Yves S

Chris Preston interviews Sydney's Matt Chojnacki. His surfing may be heavily influenced by the glories of the past, but to tag him as just another retro dude is missing the mark. Words: Chris Preston. Photos: Matt Johnson / thesealife.com.au


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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