Gran Canaria is already a favourite getaway for many Europeans. Year-round sunshine, virtually no rain and an abundance of home comforts have the tourists flocking in by the thousands. But Drift discovered a far better reason to visit - literally hundreds of hidden surf spots that can be yours alone to enjoy all year round.

Drift caught up with big-wave surfer Carlos Burle on home territory in Brazil to find out why he considers big-wave riding to be a playground for the few who have earned the privilege. Photos: Al McKinnon

During December 1970 and January 1971, my father, my brother Duncan and I designed the first Bonzer. It was the beginning of an amazing journey. Words: Malcolm Campbell. Photos: Miguel Barreira

We're all aware of Rio de Janeiro and its most famous charms - the football, carnival, Sugarloaf, Copacabana, Caipirinhas, the girls, the parties - but what of the city's surfing and the culture associated with it? Drift checks out the stand out characteristics of 'the marvellous city'! Photography: Benoit Fournier / www.benoit-fournier.com

Mat Arney hooks up with some old friends to go feral on the Arabian Peninsula and hunt down some truly isolated swell. Words & photos: Mat Arney

Tyler Warren's star is burning bright; his images feature prominently in magazines and his name's on everyone's lips right now, yet he pilots a steady course through the hype. Words: Chris Preston Photos: Kyle MacLennan

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]

Two of the most influential people on the surf-inspired art scene, Jeff Raglus and Gerry Wedd have been making their mark on everything from surfboards to teapots since the 1970s. Thirty years later, they're still as productive as ever... Words: Tommy Leitch Photos: Jamie Bott

In Senegal the deserts of North Africa meet the jungles of the tropics. It's an open–minded Islamic country of many cultural experiences and idiosyncrasies; it's also one of the safest and democratic countries in Africa. And of course there's the surf... Words: Mark Sankey Photos: Alexa Poppe

Tucked away at the top of a hill near Gwenver beach in Cornwall, Skewjacks was the definitive 1970s surf camp. Drift took four of its founding fathers - Dicky, Harvey, Jamo and Mickey - to the pub and reminisced about good times gone by. Words: Jamie Bott Credit & thanks to Graham Shephard & Mel Sedgwick

Bing Copeland was a pioneer of the modern surf industry. In his excellent new retrospective, ‘Bing Surfboards – Fifty Years of Craftsmanship and Innovation’, Paul Holmes discovered what makes Bing tick. Words: Bing Copeland & Paul Holmes Photos: Courtesy of Bing Copeland


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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