Located on Vancouver Island, off Canada's west coast, Tofino is a cold water paradise. Lush scenery with many an inlet make it ripe for the frigid water water enthusiast.
Pete Devries grew up there, knows the area – those inlets? They're second nature. And if there's an opportunity to spend some time under the hood of a salt water smasher, then Mr Devries is on it. A few days ago Pete released the above edit titled Born Pacific, and it is exactly how it sounds, Pete's journey through surfing and the frosty of allure of his home turf.
We touched base with Pete about the edit and whether he prefers cold or warm water. (Spoiler: I think you know the answer...)
We ran a poll recently about whether people prefer surfing cold or warm water. (Cold water won, remarkably) Growing up surfing Tofino, did you ever think about what it would be like to surf warmer water?
It wasn't really a consideration for me growing up honestly. Although thinking back to surfing in the winter I really hated those Hotline front zip [laughs]
They were so stiff and horrible to wear. I'm so glad wetsuits have come a long way.
I started getting fully into surfing around 13 and I did my first trip to Kauai at 14 and really enjoyed the freedom of surfing in trunks, obviously. At that point Tofino was basically empty and surfing with just a few friends and no one else around was the norm.
I guess that kind of shaped what surfing is for me. My idea of a surf trip is to get away from surf culture and see something different. Rarely surfed zones with good waves are always the most exciting for me.
I'm the guy that shows up at the beach, looks out at the ocean, and paddles out wherever I see a gap in the people. Unless it is tubing and I just can't resist, I will try to skirt around the crowds the best I can.
And now, I guess this is an obvious question, but are you more for cold water or warm?
I'm cold all the way. It's been a quick start to fall up here and I couldn't be more excited. I just asked my wife how often she thinks about warm water and she says, "every f***** day". I think we are due for a surfing vacation for her pretty quick. [laughs]
That is the main reason I do warm trips. I love a relaxing surf trip with the family somewhere warm where my wife and son can find good waves for themselves and we relax for a few weeks. After a couple weeks though, I'm always ready to come home. I think it's the variety, the beauty and the constant weather systems that make colder places more interesting to surf for me.
Don't get me wrong though, sometimes it absolutely sucks. The waves and wind can be horrible for stretches, the weather and darkness can make you depressed, and you can feel isolated at times. For me it's all about getting outside everyday, having a dog that needs exercise whether I like it or not, keeps me going.
What is it then that makes Tofino so special?
I think the fact that it is remote and beautiful, but it also has everything you need here. In Tofino there is always something to surf, there are great restaurants, and tons of things to do outside.
The beaches are gorgeous. It's changed a lot since I was a kid and is a bit too busy for my liking in the summers but there is a reason why so many people come here. Some of my favourite zones are not in Tofino, they are much more remote. They are difficult to get to and difficult to score. Getting tubes here are much more rare than surfing average beach breaks around town I'd say.
For someone who hasn’t surfed there, what can they expect?
I would say keep your expectations low and enjoy what you get [laughs]. As I was saying before, our beaches around town are very consistent but fairly average. The tubes you see in the film are rare but even the local beaches are beautiful places to surf.
Tofino’s always come across as a more adventure/surf destination than an industry region. Does that hold true nowadays?
If you call tourism an industry then that is what we are. Logging and fishing were the primary industries in the past but Tofino is a full tourist town now and has been for a while. Tofino caters to people who want to get outside. Whale watching, fishing charters, kayak tours, bear watching tours, and surfing as well as some amazing restaurants are why people come here. From what I can see, surfing has taken over as the number one revenue driver for our town.
Making edits like this, a lot goes into it. Any hiccups along the way?
I hurt my knee in mid september last year before we started filming for this project. There are actually a few clips from before and I think half the twin fin section.
It was nagging at me a bit all winter and I would have little re tweaks along the way. Barrels and carves were no problem but certain turns were a no go for me. I couldn't ride my Black Baron twin until the spring because the release at the end of a frontside turn would hurt it again every time.
I love that board too so I was a little sad. Other than that filming was fun. Nate [Laverty, director] always has a few projects on the go with different surfers around here so we doubled up with some trips and I got to spend some time surfing with all the up and coming groms from around home. It's so fun watching these kids progress and it always motivates an old guy like me.