Nothing worth achieving has ever been accomplished without a little risk. That idea took me all the way from the east coast of Michigan to the distant shores of Tofino, British Columbia for the 2016 Rip Curl Pro Tofino. It was a risk for me to pack two bags filled to the carry-on limits with camera gear and a few changes of clothes and get on 3 flights from Detroit to Tofino. It was a risk for me to head out there and stay with two guys I had never formally met before.
Both of those paid off more than I could ever have imagined. Tofino is unlike any other place on the planet. Where the mountains meet the ocean and the shoreline brings in amazing swell under the shadow of towering trees. The smile of amazement of this natural beauty never really left my face for the 5 days I was there. When Lucas Murnaghan picked me up from the smallest airport I’ve ever been to, I knew the two guys that were going to be my hosts were some of the most generous guys I’ve spent time with. Along with Lucas was Antonio Lennert. Both of them share an amazing passion for surfing and are on another planet when it comes to stoke for life.
With two hosts and new friends that are on another planet when it comes to being epic human beings, we set out to capture and document the Rip Curl Pro Tofino. From the first day on, the surf made us feel like we were home on the Great Lakes with the similar waves that never really peaked more than a couple feet. With Lucas in the water getting an awesome perspective and with Antonio shooting from the beach getting amazing shots, I found myself trying new perspectives of my own. Trying to capture the light in ways that tried to do the beauty of this place justice and shooting low with the awesome reflections that can be found on Cox Bay I had my hands full with new ideas.
With the amazing and humble talent of the pro surfers at the comp it was hard to not take epic surfing photos. With the less than ideal conditions the guys and gals put on a show. Kevin Schulz was head turning from the start with epic turns and a style that represented his home in San Clemente well. Canadian folk hero Pete Devries who has ocean water running through his veins represented the hometown proudly with a second place finish behind Schulz.
The risk of heading into the unknown paid off ten fold this time as I left with pictures that I’ve wanted to take but have only seen online. There really isn't a way to take a bad picture in that beautiful part of the world. The bigger payoff was the people I met, especially Lucas and Antonio. The risk is always worth the reward.
Words and images by Surf the Greats Ambassador Andrew Niven Jowett.