Over the course of 26 years and 200 issues, ESM has journeyed to nearly every corner of this surfing planet. We kicked things off in 1991 focusing on the East Coast’s many nooks and crannies, most of which didn’t gain mainstream attention and acceptance for years. But when the Atlantic fell flat, we also followed our wanderlust to the ends of the earth, long before 24/7 surf reports, online surf maps, and open-armed tourism bureaus made such travel easy. But there’s one place where we haven’t yet touched down, even after 200 issues (don’t mind us as we say that just a few more times) — Western Canada.
This wild frontier perched on the edge of the angry, frigid Pacific Ocean has been inhabited by humans for tens of thousands of years. But attempts to tame and develop her were rebuffed repeatedly throughout the 1700s and 1800s. Today, Vancouver Island’s astonishing beauty serves as the perfect antidote to human beings’ current digital delusion. Find yourself faced with the towering landscapes that ring the beaches in and around Tofino and you’ll want to forget all about Snapchat, social media, and your sent mail folder. That’s the allure for young vagabonds like Balaram Stack, Logan Landry, Cam Richards, Oliver Kurtz, and many more, all of whom flocked to British Columbia over the last couple of years to edge up to that gratifying feeling of truly falling off the grid. To see what life is like in the true wilds, where the trees are older than our so-called New World and happiness is served up by those rare breaks in Gulf of Alaska storms. Where, as acclaimed Canadian historian Margaret Ormsby described it, you can still be caught in “the ongoing pull between maritime and continental forces.”
We’re proud to highlight such a unique destination for the first time in our 200th issue — here’s to 200 more spent searching for dark, death-defying, and extraordinary moments like this one.