The Vans crew happily made their return to Tofino this year for the Duct Tape Festival of Surfing. Unlike last year’s  invitational event, which focused on showcasing the unique styles of individual riders in a lackadaisical contest format, they opted to change it up. This time around, the Duct Tape Festival was an all day beach gathering, where world class surfers Dane Reynolds, Tanner and Dane Gudauskas, Alex Knost, Justin Quintal and of course the event founder Joel Tudor were in attendance. Each brought two boards that they had hand-shaped for the public to try. The Vans team were cruising the beach all day, and people were encouraged to hang with the crew and discuss board design and their own experiences with each one. The event strives to encompass innovation, creativity, and craftsmanship in surf culture. Where many surf events highlight the lone surfer at the top, the Duct Tape Festival honours surfing by acknowledging the multi-faceted dimension that makes up surf culture.

The stoke was high that day, as Cox Bay provided amazing surf for the duration of the event, a vast improvement on the conditions of last year. With the sun shining, people were soaking up the rays as the tunes blasted from Vinyl Ritchie’s turntables. The smiles and stoke on the faces of each individual trying the quiver of hand-shaped boards as they danced their way up the beach. The Vans team riders were down to earth, friendly and were totally up to shooting the shit with all of the local surfers. The event was followed up by a BBQ at Storm Surf Shop where the good vibes continued to flow.

As the Duct Tape saga continues, it serves to progress the surf culture in Canada. It’s events like this that remind us why so many of us started surfing in the first place. There were no winners or losers, and no buzz-kill jocks ruining the vibe because they didn’t make their heat. The common goal of having fun and sharing the stoke was the only objective, no matter your surfing ability. All styles of riding were featured and represented in the board collection, and the event also served as a great reminder of the importance of trying and experimenting with new boards and unique designs. Since Canada is still in its adolescence as a surf culture, there is a lot of room for personal shapes and craftsmen to experiment with building boards outside of “the norm”. The defining feature of the Duct Tape event is the presence of self-shaped boards, which is something that we certainly lack in the Great White North, and I’m excited to see if it inspires shapers and surfers to have a stab it. And with that, we thank Vans, for yet another fantastic event and the inspiration to get out there and start shaping!

Words: Robert Fiorella.