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.

Championed by surfers in the know for over 30 years, but largely ignored by mainstream riders; has the time finally come for the Bonzer to shine? Words: Steve Croft & Mark Sankey Photos: Alexa Poppe

Crime and punishment, it's all relative. A brush with the law is nothing more for most of us than a speeding fine or curt telling off, but we're a very privileged bunch... Words & photos: Carly Lorente

Joe Curren is the surfing equivalent of old growth, his style in the water and behind a lens is deeply rooted, contemplative and quietly powerful. Jair Bortoleto caught up with Joe to talk about family, travel, and shooting analogue in the digital age. Words: Jair Bortoleto Photos: Joe Curren

Self-confessed board hoarder Chris Preston expounds the delights to be found within his tardis-like garden shed, and explains how he came to favour the quiver approach to surfing. Photos by Jamie Bott [except no.3].

Using locally sourced timber and having designed a manufacturing process that minimises waste, Mike LaVecchia of Grain Surfboards has cornered the market in beautiful, sustainable wooden boards. And the best bit? They ride like a dream. Photos: Nick LaVecchia

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

Mark Leary's latest work deviates sharply from the usual surf photography portfolio, celebrating as it does the commonplace, everyday aspects of surfing instead of monster swells and awesome barrels. Chris Preston chats to him about moments captured.

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

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

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


Back in the Bay


December 28, 2010 | Words By: Mat Arney

The Boxing Day tsunami hit Arugam Bay, on the East coast of Sri Lanka at 8.45am six years ago, taking the lives of 300 people, roughly twenty percent of the community’s population. Mat Arney revisits six years on.


Approximately two hours previously an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3 had struck off the coast of Sumatra, near Indonesia’s Mentawaii Island chain, and the resulting waves of tsunamis caused devastation across the Indian Ocean. The International community rallied and donated more than US$14 billion for aid and reconstruction.

But how have some of the communities affected by the tsunami bounced back? The list of coastal areas impacted by the tsunamis includes some of the most revered destinations in the surfing world, so it’s inevitable that places that we hold dear to our collective hearts were affected.

It’s six years on, and the small village of Arugam Bay, spread out along the stretch of the bay from the lagoon to the point that draws surfers, seems to be back on track; there’s a new bridge over the lagoon, hotels are doing a brisk trade in the high season and there are multicoloured fishing boats and outriggers pulled up on the berm. But talk to any fisherman mending nets on the beach and you can tell that the memory still cuts deep…”and then the wave came and everything died” as one man told me.

I didn’t want to dwell too much on the past, but I was interested in the knock on effects and the hangover of this enormous natural disaster years after the international money donating public have moved onto the next cause and the aid agencies and volunteers have moved on. Sri Lanka is an interesting case to look at because of the additional ingredient of a long running civil war which only ended in May of 2009.

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There are still piles of rubble and half-destroyed buildings stood on their concrete foundations which are destined to remain as reminders. In January 2006 the government, which had been accused of standing by idly and contributing little to the relief effort, enacted the now infamous “100 metre rule” which forbade anybody living within 100 metres of the Indian Ocean from rebuilding their homes on the former site and forcing many fishermen inland away from their boats and the sea. This measure was designed to protect coastal communities from the possibility of more tsunamis however given the right amount of cash in the right hands, there appeared to be loopholes with the result being that many hotels were rebuilt in the same spot, and on many other parts of the coast the whole debacle was seen by locals as a back handed way of acquiring coastal property ripe for development.

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