Surfing for many becomes so much more than riding waves. For most it becomes some type of an adventure; for a few, a profession; and for Canadian surf magazine Editor Malcolm Johnson, it’s both. Lucky for us, he brings his camera along. These photos give us a little glimpse of the beauty to be explored north of the border. Looks like fun, Eh?
“When I was a kid I knew that surfing existed, but it seemed so far away that it was practically unattainable. It was a long ferry trip from where we lived to any surfable waves, so most of my impressions of surfing came through photos or movies. The first image that really struck me was a shot of Mavericks from the mid-’90s that I cut out and taped to the inside of my locker—I used to just stand there and stare at that shot and dream of being able to surf waves like that someday. And then some changes happened, surfing became a major part of my life, and I eventually ended up with a gig editing a surf magazine here in Canada. I’ve always loved photography and staring at surf photos, but for whatever reason, I never wanted to be a surf shooter—I always just wanted to be out there riding waves instead. But I’ve had a lot of incredible adventures thanks to surfing, and I’m so thankful for what it’s shown me of the world. I carry a camera with me most of the time when I travel, and here are a few views of things I’ve seen along the way.”
You can follow Malcolm on Instagram @malcolmrjohnson.
Above photo caption: Jeremy Koreski has shot some of the best surf photos of our era, and he does it in the grittiest conditions imaginable. Here he is bundling up for another rainy boat ride.
Stefan Aftanas has a board factory hidden in the tall trees on the inlet side of Tofino. These are some freshies waiting for Stefan to turn them into beachbreak stoke machines.
Tofino has crazy weather at the best of times, and this day was one of the craziest I can remember—it was hailing so hard that people were hiding under their boards in the water. But then the storms broke and Cox Bay was offshore and super fun.
This is a pretty classic B.C. surf scene. Just a crew of friends wandering down the beach for a surf on Flores Island.
Cori making fireside tacos at the Flores Island camp.
Kauai is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s a powerful place. This was a stormy day in winter a few years ago, a little stairway to heaven through the clouds.
You see shots from Canada of super perfect points and big green slabs. And those are out there, for sure. But the day-to-day reality is more like this. On an average day, this is what you’ll see when you get down to the end of the Cox Bay trail.
More of the Tofino good life. A bunch of friends on a flat evening at the end of summer, roasting salmon and potatoes in tin foil in the coals of the fire.
On the way home from a California trip, this was the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, disappearing into the fog.
Birds at sunset, shot at Steamer Lane on a cold evening in November.
Trevor Gordon is a rad person to roam around with. He always has his eyes on the ground, looking for little treasures to make art with. This was on a hike last fall, after he found this perfect little wave pattern in a broken rock at the side of the road. That thing is going square.
This is the view inland from one of the Vancouver Island rivermouth spots.
Low tide and late afternoon at Jordan River. That’s Vanessa in the distance, roaming the shoreline and wondering if the wind will stop.
Just another Northwest surf scene, this time from Washington with my bro Dan coming in from a surf. That black lump on the beach behind him is the first of the Japanese tsunami debris, a giant plastic float from an oyster farm.
The road across Vancouver Island to Tofino is just ridiculously beautiful. For part of the way it follows a river that pours out of the rainforest down towards the sea. There are some flat rocks where you can pull out and watch the rapids. That’s Vanessa just enjoying the quiet.
This summer Vanessa and I loaded up our boards and gear and set off to drive to Nova Scotia where she would be going to school. This is the first morning of our trip, pulled over at a little freestyle campsite by the Thompson River in interior B.C.
The Monashee Mountains forming the best dinner view I’ve ever had. This was such an epic night—when we went back to the tent to camp, an older fellow in an RV beside us pulled out a Dobro and played incredibly beautiful slide tunes as the night slowly fell.
We’re happiest on water. Halfway across the country, we stopped with some friends in Ontario for a few days and got to paddle around on peaceful lakes.
A late summer evening in Nova Scotia, walking up the headlands to see if the swell from Tropical Storm Leslie had arrived.
Another shot from Leslie, with JJ Wessels walking back to the van after an epic surf at one of the Nova Scotia points. He and his wife are amazing people and super fun to surf with.
I feel so lucky to live where I do. It’s just so beautiful pretty much everywhere you look. This is high grass on a little sand island in the Salish Sea.
Not the greatest photo, but for South Island surfers this is a very familiar scene—the view from the truck on a rainy day, driving across the Loss Creek bridge.
The point from the roadside, looking so very loggable.
Downtime in Washington, with Dan pegging driftwood on slingshot target practice.