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Vans hikes to Canada with the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational

Story & Photos by Evan Schell evanschell.com // @theslipperysaltwaterchronicles

Two hundred miles west of Vancouver, Canada is a small, coastal town called Tofino. Situated on the northern region of the Esowista Peninsula, Tofino’s natural beauty is absolutely mesmerizing. Temperate rainforests made up of spruce, cedar, and hemlock trees line the Pacific Rim Highway that ends in downtown Tofino. Made up of equal parts tourists and friendly locals, downtown Tofino is a surf-centric locale full of great restaurants, shops, and a beautiful view of the neighboring islands to the north that make up the Clayoquot Sound.

Over the last two decades Tofino has steadily become a popular cold-water surf destination. A handful of local surfers have gained global notoriety in the surfing world, which in turn has helped spotlight this small region of British Columbia. This has led to a number of professional surfing contests taking place at local breaks like Cox Bay. Last year was the first time that Vans held the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational event at Cox Bay, where sixteen surfers from all over the world competed for a cash prize and bragging rights. When Vans and Joel Tudor returned this year, they decided to change up the event format to make it more inclusive and fun for the local surfers of Tofino. Vans team riders Dane Reynolds, Alex Knost, Tanner Gudauskas, and Joel Tudor each shaped two surfboards that anyone at the beach could ride. The Duct Tape Festival was the epitome of a perfect beach day. Sunny skies, fun waves, and great people lined the beach for a full day of good times.

Well-known local photographer, Jeremy Koreski, began documenting surfing, skating, and Tofino’s unique natural landscapes as a teenager. Over the years Jeremy and his photography have not only helped local surfers gain more exposure outside of Tofino, but he has also teamed up with environmental NGOs like Central Westcoast Forest Society to help protect and educate people about sustainable forestry management in Tofino and the surrounding islands.

Surfers are inherently interconnected with the natural world, whether they realize it or not. In Tofino, it’s obvious that the locals have a heightened understanding of the importance of preserving and protecting the beautiful coastline that they rely on.