Tofino Surfboard Artistry

August 8, 2017

Think surfing is an art? You're so right. So much so that between 2015 and 2017, Tofino Arts Council’s Tofino Boardwalk project showcased 20 meticulously crafted surfboards by local artists; prominently displayed at locations around town. It all came to a wave-like crescendo with an auction at the Tofino Boardwalk Gala on May 26, 2017. And we were there with bells on, winning 3 surfboards, each with their own unique expression of our community’s love for the ocean and the creative energy it just can't help but generate.

Head here to see the full surfboard lineup, but FIRST, look at the banner image above and read below for a tour of our winning bids:

[LEFT] Wickaninnish After School Art Group – The Mermaid

This colourful beauty was created by a collaboration of art club kids using broken, coloured bottle glass in the shape of a mermaid.

As much as we loved the vision behind this board, we happily donated it back to the school to enjoy and inspire even more great art.

Check out the story behind the board, including photos of the talented, young artists.

[MIDDLE] Ucluelet Secondary School Grade 8-12 Art Class – Triangles

This aptly named triangle depiction of coastal scenes and Tofino-under-the-sea needs to be seen close-up to be fully appreciated.

We also donated this surfboard back to the school to display and motivate more art excellence.

Here’s the story behind the board, including another under-the-radar board called Bubbles.

[RIGHT] And then there’s the surfboard by Master Canoe Carver, Joe Martin – načiƛ (To Watch/Observe)

This work-of-art was carved from an authentic First Nations family canoe. And now, thanks to our shrewd bidding (wink), you can see it permanently displayed at Pacific Sands in our Surf Shack!

More about Joe
Joe Martin grew up in the village of Opitsaht on Meares Island, directly across from Tofino. He now lives at Long Beach and is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht (Clayoquot) First Nation—pronounced Clay-kwot.

Joe’s father, the late Chief Robert Martin, was a renowned Master Canoe Carver. From a very young age, he helped Joe hone his craft, honouring the art and tradition of carving the ocean-going dugout canoes that connect the villages of the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

Joe went on to become a distinguished Master Canoe Carver in his own right, earning recognition and multiple BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art. Over the course of his career, he’s created over 60 canoes. Ranging from 14 to over 30 feet long, each canoe is carved from a single red cedar tree—typically between 400 and 800 years old.

As an artist and First Nations ambassador for Clayoquot Sound, Joe actively promotes cultural practice and cross-cultural education. And, true to tradition, he continues to pass on his knowledge and skill to the next generation.

Be sure to head to our Surf Shack for a close-up of Joe Martin’s craftsmanship on your next visit.

Meantime, more on the local art you can experience at Pacific Sands, including photography by Jeremy Koreski and glass artistry by Sol Maya.

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