I just recently got back from a week in Tofino and while I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with two incredible women that are part of the local surf community. If you haven’t been to Tofino, it’s a wonderful surf town located on the very edge of the continent in British Columbia, there’s no place quite like it. There’s a huge community of female entrepreneurs and surfers that live there so I wanted to chat with some of them for the podcast to find out more about their line of work and the community they live in.
Today’s guest is Bryanna Bradley, she is a local photographer and visual storyteller from Tofino, who has photographed not only the local surf community in Tofino but has been able to travel around the world and document a ton of incredible surfers and surfing events. I was thrilled she invited me into her cozy home in Tofino and we got to sit down for a nice chat!
The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!
With Tofino being one of the summer travel hotspots in British Columbia, there’s no doubt that a lot of people will be coming to the area in the next couple of months. Having said that, there are lots of great things to do in and around Tofino, so I wanted to highlight a few of my discoveries from my first trip there last week!
1) Go surfing at Long Beach – Long Beach is definitely one of the most coveted surf spots in all of Canada. The long strip of sandy beach draws people from all around the world and with reason. It’s a great spot to learn how to surf or catch some smooth waves with your longboard. It does tend to get a little crowded this time of year, but the beach is so vast that there’s always a quieter spot somewhere in the water. It’s also an ideal spot to enjoy a post-surf picnic, BBQ and even watch the sunset.
2) Grab a beer from Tofino Brewing Co. – You can’t go to Tofino and not want to stop by their one and only brewery in the area, the Tofino Brewing Co. Their brewery is located on Industrial Way, on the way into downtown. You can get a tasting flight for just $10 and they also serve the local Tofino Kombucha, if you’re more in the mood for a non-alcoholic beverage. The spot is quaint, decorated with lots of surfing photos, and artwork. It’s a fun and casual place to go post-surf!
3) Visit Ucluelet – Ucluelet is located just a short drive away from Tofino. This small town is a lot quieter than Tofino but offers just as many things to do. I highly recommend doing the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse hike, visiting Small Beach, grabbing a homemade snack from Zoë’s Bakery and going shopping at Gypsy Drifter, the cutest bohemian-inspired shop! You can also hop on a sea plane for a tour of the area, go SUPing or visit their aquarium.
4) Tofitian Café – Looking for a place to grab your morning java or a homemade snack? You’ll want to go to Tofitian. It’s a super popular spot with both locals and visitors because they serve up delicious scones, muffins and croissants as well as tasty matcha lattés, coffees and drinks. The café is located in a cute shopping area, where you can sit on picnic tables and enjoy the proximity to the woods.
5) Rainforest Trail – There are tons of hikes to do in the area, but one that must be added to your list is the Rainforest Trail. Located in the Pacific Rim National Park, this lush green trail will make you feel like you’re in a magical wonderland. Though it tends to get crowded in the summer, there’s always room to feel alone in the vast forest. There are tons of different loops that you can choose from, which will please everyone from a newbie to a seasoned hiker!
Today I share some of my favorite summer accessories for the active traveler out there. If you’re hitting the beach or plan on going on a surf trip, you may want to add these items to your suitcase!
1) Wander Wet Bag – This is the perfect accessory for your bathing suit this summer! Wander Wet Bags is a local company based out of Encinitas, California. Each wet bag is made 100% in the United States and all the materials used from the bag are also local. The creator of Wander, Eileen, has come up with a beautiful variety of prints and colours. It’s the ideal bag to throw in your bathing suit after a day at the beach, swimming or even surfing!
2) Colorescience Sunscreen – Want a quick and easy solution for makeup and UV protection while you travel? Try out Colorescience‘s Daily UV Protector. This lightweight, non-greasy and water-resistant cream blurs imperfections and also protects the skin from environmental stressors. It’s an easy foundation to use under makeup or even wear alone.
3) Bikini Village Bathing Suit – Bikini Village is back with fun new bathing suits this summer. They have really stepped up the ante with the collections that are available in stores and online. Whether you’re looking for a bikini, a one-piece suit, a tankini, boy shorts and more, they’ve got you covered. Bikini Village offers 50 + brands to choose from for classic, trendy or more sophisticated beach and summer looks.
4) Reef Escape Sandals – Flip flops are a must in your suitcase this summer! Reef has released a series of cute printed luxury sandals that are easy to pair with a bathing suit or a cute summer outfit. The sandals are water friendly, free of PVC (which is better for the environment!) and also provide arch support for added stability and comfort while you explore.
5) Rip Curl Hooded Towel – This towel is an absolute must for surfers and swimmers who are looking for a great way to keep warm and dry after going in the water. The Rip Curl Wettie Gift Hooded Towel is also an easy way to change at the beach, without having to find a change room or toilet. It’s lightweight and easy to roll up in your suitcase.
This small surf town is located in the northern part of the Côte Basque region of France. One of the things that makes the city so beautiful is its pine forest that makes up 10% of the city’s territory. The coast of Anglet contains 11 beautiful beaches that stretch 4.5 kms. The beaches are a top spot for local surfers and even members of the international surfing community. This summer, the first ever #ProAnglet surf competition was held Sables d’or beach, an WSL Qualification event. On the Anglet beachfront, you will find a variety of cute little shops, cafés and restaurants.
Downtown Anglet is also incredibly cute. You can feel the small-town relaxed vibe in this city but you’ll find everything you need. Anglet is where you’ll find the headquarters of local surf brand Oxbow, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. This rad brand once sponsored surfing greats like Laird Hamilton and now work with local groms.
If you like biking, you’ll be able to take their multipurpose path up and down the coast and the entire Basque region of France.
This little city is definitely a surfer’s paradise!
This city located just north and east of Anglet and is a cultural and historical haven. You may have heard of this place before due to its annual Fêtes de Bayonne, a 5-day celebration that starts on the first Wednesday of August and attracts people from all over Europe. People flock to the city to watch parades, dance, music, eat food and drink.
Bayonne is also where the famous “Bayonne Ham” originated from. The city also has a famous rugby team.
What makes the city so special, is its 17th century fortification and historic buildings. Some of the sights you’ll find in the city date back to the 12th century, such as their castle and their church. You’ll also see traditional Basque homes, with half-timbering and shutters in either red or green.
If you’re looking to learn about the local history, this will be your go-to spot!
This is probably the most famous and internationally recognized town of the Côte Basque. It’s renown for its surf and also its luxury. Many people compare this city to the Cannes of the southwest.
There is plenty to see and do in Biarritz. They’ve got a beautiful Museum of the Sea, they have two large casinos on the waterfront by the Grande Plage, the annual Biarritz Surf Festival, great shops and also fantastic restaurants like Le Clos Basque, that offers local Basque specialties.
There is also a real sense of community and youthfulness in Biarritz. There are many great up and coming local designer shops and businesses that can be found throughout the city.
This is a small fishing village that has been around since the 12th century. The arrival of the train in 1884 brought a lot of families and tourists area, looking to build secondary homes along the coast. A lot of these homes remain visible to this day. The village is now a destination for French surfers and also a great spot for longboarding. The marina still remains to this day and so does a lot of the local agriculture.
The village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located just a few minutes away from the Spanish border. The city’s wealth originated from its port but it also became well-known as a result of the wedding of Louix XIV and Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain in 1660 in the city’s church.
Today, it is a great spot to visit for those looking for great cuisine, sandy beach and traditional architecture. The Spanish influence can definitely be felt in this town, it’s a great place to get eat tapas. That said, it is also a great place to grab a traditional Gâteau Basque, which can be found in all the bakeries around town.
Well… after a lengthy day, 2 days of traveling, we finally made it to Europe. The 9 hours of jet lag definitely has me feeling a little funky but I knew that going to the ocean today would be the best thing to get me feeling energized again.
No surfing for today, just enjoying the lovely waves, the sun and the beautiful Côte Basque scenery. Some days, it’s nice to be a beach bum, I rarely get the chance to just lay by the beach so I’m making the most of it!
Excited to be heading to the #ProAnglet surf competition later this week. Got any recommendations for the Côte Basque? Send them my way!
A few weeks ago, during the Nike Women’s 15k race weekend in Toronto, I had the privilege of meeting one of the top female surfers in the world – Lakey Peterson. Lakey is a 20-year-old professional surfer from California currently ranked #7 on the WSL World Tour. She started surfing at the age of 5 and began her rookie year on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour at the age of 17! If you’ve seen Lakey compete before, you know she’s a powerhouse in the water. She’s such a great athlete to watch because she always seems so fearless against the other competitors. I’ve had the privilege of watching her compete and she’s incredibly inspiring. I’m beyond thrilled that she took a few minutes out of her busy training schedule before the US Open of Surfing to answer a few of my questions. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions with Lakey Peterson:
1) What first drew you to surfing? What is it about surfing that you love so much?
I think for me it has always just been such a freeing feeling when I surf… I forget about everything else in life and am entirely in the moment. Not many things in this world that make you do that or feel that.
2) What are your thoughts on the current level of women’s surfing in the world?
It’s really exciting to be a part of women’s surfing at the moment… The girls are absolutely ripping at the moment. We are all pushing each other to surf better and more powerful. I believe the future is really bright.
3) How do you usually prepare for a competition? What is your day of competition routine?
During contest I am always up by 5 or 5:30. I’ll have a bite of fruit and go for a warm up surf. Then eat breakfast, lots of veggies, 1 egg and avocado. Before my heat I listen to my music, warm up, talk to my coach and off I go.
4) What are some of your favorite breaks to surf and why?
When I am back home in California, Rincon Point is by far my favorite place in the world to surf. I also Love Fiji and Honolua Bay
5) What are your next career goals? Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In 5 year i hope I am still on tour surfing and going for the world title. I want surfing to be my life for as long as possible. So hopefully I’ll be on tour until I am 30 or so. After that I want to really help people with nutrition and fitness. I am starting a website called TheSaltyCoconut.com it’s going to be all about healthy living. Amazing style tips, recipes, workouts, photography etc. So i hope that goes well and I can turn it into a business and carrier one day.
Catch Lakey Peterson compete at the US Open of Surfing this week and check out her new website TheSaltyCoconut.comthat launches Friday July 31st at 10am PST.
I first heard of the southern California artist Skye Walker a few years ago. I believe I found his website through a Liquid Salt mag post. I was immediately drawn to his art because of the beautiful ocean and nature themes. The mural Skye is standing in front of on the above photo was the first piece I saw of his and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes, I may have a little bias for redheads but his art really spoke to me, it made me feel peaceful. Over the years, I’ve followed his journey and am stoked on all the success he’s been getting as of late. I can’t wait to go back to Leucadia in a few weeks to see this amazing mural in person! I hope you will be as inspired as I am when you read the interview below. Here are my 5 Questions With Skye Walker:
1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was what you wanted to do for a living?
I always say that I picked up a crayon and started drawing and never stopped, but that is pretty true. I was always drawing, doodling and escaping into fun worlds with my art as a kid. Hundreds of hours of drawing in my room and loving every minute of it. I remember the moment I wanted to be an artist for life and for a career. We were living in Gardnerville, Nevada at the time and I was 8 years old. I had drawn some cartoons of Garfield the cat that I thought were awesome, so I sent them to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis. A few weeks later I got a letter from Mr. Davis (or his secretary) but he signed it, and it said he received the drawings and he liked them a lot! My jaw hit the floor and I was blown away that he liked my art enough to write a letter back. So from that moment on I decided to be an artist for life and if I could, for a career. I remember the exact moment I had that realization too, sitting at the breakfast table.
2) What inspires your art? Your art revolves a lot around ocean and nature themes, why is that?
Growing up If I wasn’t drawing, I was outside playing. We lived in quite a few places growing up like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon. My sister and I were introduced to nature and camping and being in our natural surroundings by our parents. So, naturally, I gravitated to things like surfing, snowboarding and biking. Luckily we didn’t have iPhones, computers or the internet then. We never got a Nintendo (even though I wanted one) but I’m glad I didn’t get it.
So being in nature inspired a lot of my art, as well as figure drawing and the human form. I do mix the elements of nature with the human body a lot. Usually the female figure represents mother earth and her interaction with our surroundings whether it’s subtle or more prominent. I think if I had grown up in an urban setting my art would certainly reflect those themes. But they reflect nature, the oceans, mountains, skies and trees- but I certainly try to present them in different ways and I’m always trying to evolve my style and themes.
3) As years go by, how do you push yourself to keep growing as an artist?
This is a great question. Just as we all have to keep growing and pushing ourselves as humans as we strive to survive and adapt, artists have to do the same with their art. Case in point, I was working in the Outdoor Sports industry as an Art Director and was pretty burnt out with the same old graphic design projects. But that job security was hard to leave, until I was let go along with 35 other people when the economy hit the fan. While this was frustrating, it freed me from the confines of that job artistically and let me focus on my own art and projects… but it really opened things up for me to return to doing large scale murals.
I had done a lot of murals in high school and in college, but I didn’t see a career in it at all. It was fun, but a lot of work. Flash forward 9 years and my artist friend Alex Krastev referred Whole Foods to me as they were building a new store in my town of Encinitas. They contacted me about doing murals and that kick started a fire for me to focus on murals. Since then I have completed about 23+ murals from San Diego to LA to Denver to Austin and back again.
Murals allow me to push myself as an artist all the time. To figure out spacial issues with large scale art that I can’t do on a small scale or on the computer. It’s also like solving a problem each time too, what paints will be best, what colors, how do I reach those heights, how do I get the scale I need and host of other issues… but I love it because it’s always challenging and it’s always pushing me artistically to create new ideas to work with the space that’s given to me.
So if my friend hadn’t referred me to Whole Foods, I would probably still be doing smaller scale paintings and graphic design (which I still do) and not thinking of murals. But since that happened, it opened my eyes to new horizons with art. Murals are an amazing way to bring art to the public eye and change the image of a neighborhood. But the best part about it is that it’s never easy and it forces me to push myself artistically every time. It’s easy to sit at a computer and research ideas, new ways of thinking and such… but getting out and thinking on your feet and creating with your hands does wonders for my thought process and gets me out of my comfort zone. That’s when the real creativity begins.
4) You’ve had the chance to create murals and work on special projects with a lot of renowned clients from Whole Foods to Rip Curl and Nike, what have been some of your most memorable projects to date?
My first real job out of college was at Rip Curl as their graphic designer for apparel. This was memorable because I’d never designed a t-shirt before, so I had to fake it until I figured it out. But that job was rad, made some great friends, went to Australia twice and surfed my brains out. Also designed a couple thousand t-shirts and other graphics, really helped me cut my teeth on some fast paced graphic design work.
I’d have to say lately though, the mural jobs & projects all have such memorable situations and experiences, it’s awesome. I had an assistant in Austin, Texas who turned out to be an ex-convict with crazy stories. Did a mural in Denver in between a blizzard praying the paint would stick to the wall, it went from 60 degrees to 7 then to 40 and back again. Since the murals are so big, everything that’s involved to create them is so much bigger which makes it all very memorable.
I just finished a mural for The Hub, Hillcrest Marketplace in San Diego and a woman walked up and said: “This is so wonderful, you’ve lifted the spirit of this whole neighborhood!”. I was very touched by that, she truly meant what she said and that made me feel like what I was doing was good and important. Ten minutes later a car sped by and a guy yelled: “Looks terrible!”. The Yin & Yang of it all, which makes creating murals so memorable. I can’t get those experiences in my home office!
5) For those who don’t know, you are also a surfer. Where are some of your favorite places to go surf?
Ah yes, surfing. A real love in my life. There is nothing quite like it and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I love taking surf trips whenever I can and experiencing new places and waves. I surf my local breaks pretty often and I try to get up and down the coast a bit to get out of the neighborhood and surf some different spots. I’ve learned as I get older that my favorite place to surf is wherever I am at that moment, whether it’s 2 foot slop or 6 feet and glassy. Just being in the ocean is wonderful.
A lot of us have travel bucket lists, I certainly do and the following blog is dedicated to a destination that’s been in my top 5 travel destinations wish list for years. I was recently able to make that travel wish come true, when @offner (my faithful travel companion!) took me to Santorini for my big 3-0! NBD.
Santorini is as dreamy as it looks, sounds and as you’ve ever imagined it to be! The whole time I was there, I kept pinching myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming or looking at some fake backdrop. It’s really that breathtaking.
If you’re planning a trip to this enchanted place, may I recommend going between April and October? The rest of the year is considered the “off season” like many other destinations and a lot of the local hotels, shops and attractions are closed.
Also, if you’re flying in, consider flying with flyNiki, a division of Air Berlin that offers daily roundtrips to and from Santorini. They’re a super laid back decently priced Austrian airline. Their flight attendants all look like models and are dressed in jeans and a pink blouse and offer a variety of sandwiches and tasty drinks on your quick flight from pretty much anywhere in Europe.
Speaking of flying to Santorini, you’ll want to spend time on the rooftop patio at the Santorini airport. You get to pass security check and then they let you have some drinks and homemade food outdoors on a patio that overlooks the airport runway. You get to see up close the planes land and takeoff. Pretty special!
That said, here are my top 5 things to do when traveling to Santorini:
1) Rent a car. The best thing to do while you’re in Santorini is to rent a car and explore the entire island. Santorini is small enough that within a couple of hours, you’ll have been able to see the entire thing. Renting a car is > renting a scooter or 4×4 because it allows you to go everywhere and a lot quicker. Also, renting a car for the day is ridiculously cheap. A renter’s tip: the rental companies will try to charge you more for renting a Smart car (the most expensive car they rent!), a more powerful car, a convertible… but honestly all you really need is a basic standard car. A standard car is preferable because it’ll help you go up and down all the winding roads on the island. Also, take pics of the car you rent – any scratches, problems, etc. The car rental companies are really anal on car damage. You wouldn’t want to be charged for something you didn’t do yourself.
If you rent a car, go to Fira, Oia, Kamari and all the other beautiful and unique little villages on the island. Make sure you check out the Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach, all beautiful and so different. The island also contains more than 250 churches, which are all uniquely decorated. Go up to the ruins that overlook the entire island! The lighthouse on the southern and most western tip of the island gives you a beautiful view of all Santorini.
By having a car, you’ll also be able to do all of this discovery at your convenience and spend as much time as you want in every place you go.
2) Eat the fresh local food. Seems obvious but Santorini has so much delicious local food. Most of the island is covered by wineries (who would have thought!) and their wine is pretty delicious and super cheap, like 3 Euros for a more than decent bottle. Most restaurants will offer you fresh fish of the day, that they will cook on an outdoor grill with locally grown fresh vegetables. If you drive around to the island, you’ll see that local residents have stands or small shops off the side of the road, where they sell you homemade products – jams, sauces, wine, as well as anything they’ve grown on their property. The spanakopitas and freshly made baked goods are HUGE and stuffed with flavour. Oh yea, and how could I forget the feta!! It’s everywhere and oh so yummy! We brought back some fresh olive oil and spices, which we’ve been using on salads since our trip. Nothing compares to fresh Greek olive oil!
A restaurant you absolutely need to check out: La Maison for unique and modern Greek cuisine with a French twist!
An insider’s tip when eating at a restaurant in Santorini: make sure you check the menu before sitting down because a lot of items tend to not be priced, don’t feel pressured to try everything they throw at you and don’t be surprised to pay for water and bread & butter, even if they make you feel it’s on them… You will have to pay for it!
3) Get a boutique hotel in Imerovigli. Though all of Santorini is absolutely magical, there are some areas where you’ll be less bothered by the 3000+ people coming off cruise ships every day to explore Santorini on their cruise day trip. Yes, that’s the one thing you can’t avoid in Santorini: Cruise ships!! And big ones too! Some days, you’ll wake up to 2 or 3 ships anchored down close to Fira. The advantage of being in Imerovigli is that a) you still get the dreamy view of the island b) you’re far enough that lot’s of these cruise ship passengers don’t walk all the way up to your hotel c) you’re far enough from the road so no you won’t hear any car traffic and noise.
A lot of these boutique type hotels have infinity pools, though tiny, they’re quite refreshing on a hot day on the island. All of these hotels are beautifully decorated, most of them also have private patios and serve yummy breakfast that you can eat while overlooking the island. Though Oia is also a popular spot, too many buses and organized tours bring people to that area all day long, and you would always be bombarded by others looking through your windows, taking pictures and getting in your business.
4) Go Surfing. Little did I know that you can go surfing in Santorini. I found a local surf spot totally by chance while exploring the island with our car (again, the advantage of renting a car!). We had seen a surf shop in Fira and had laughed thinking no one would be surfing in the area because the water is so calm but low and behold, they can get some pretty great swell in the Aegean Sea! What was amazing about this surf spot, was that it wasn’t crowded. It’s a black sand beach, with 10 or so locals catching waves and hanging out. You’ll find people surfing around Vourvoulos and Pori, not too far away from the island’s airport.
5) Catch a sunset! Duh! The best place to catch a sunset on the island would have to be in Oia hands down. Some people reserve their seats on restaurant patios as early as lunch time, and stick around all afternoon to make sure they don’t miss out on the sunset. If you don’t want to sit on a patio all afternoon, you can always try calling a restaurant if you want to make sure you get a table. Another option, is to go down to the water in Oia. Lot’s of people drive to the tip just to catch the sunset each night.
If you can’t make it to Oia, another option is to take a boat cruise. A lot of locals offer private or semi-cruises afternoon and sunset trips that include visiting the different beaches, swimming in the hot springs right beside the volcano and going to catch the sunset in Oia followed by a homemade dinner on the boat.
If that’s also not your jam, and you want to take it easy, I recommend any patio from Fira to Imerovigli or even using your hotel’s patio to enjoy the sunset. You might not get the same view as Oia but regardless, it’ll be one of the most magical moments of your life!
Last summer, while I was in California, I had the chance to check out for the second year in a row, an all-girl surfing competition called the Supergirl Pro that was being held in Oceanside. Over the years I’ve been following the professional circuit of surfers as much as I can but as of late, I’ve been paying particular attention to not only the women surfers but also the up and comers. Last year, one of the names I kept hearing, was French surfer Pauline Ado. Pauline is currently ranked 13th in the ASP World Tour. Over the past year, she’s really grown into her own and has really been rivalling all of the ladies at the top of her field. What I like so much about her, is that she always seems so laid back but also incredibly focused. This past year, she’s only ben home for a few weeks, recently traveling to Mexico and up next on her itinerary will be the US as well as Europe and Hawaii to finish the year. She’s beyond talented and I’m therefore incredibly thrilled to have seen her surf and now to have her featured on the blog. Here’s are my 5 Questions With Pauline Ado:
1) When did your passion for surfing start? Do you remember the first time you surfed?
I was 8 years old the first time I started surfing. Before that I would spend all summer at the beach playing in the water, catching waves with my bodyboard and trying to stand up on it with a group of friends. The first time I really surfed though is not a clear memory. I just remember standing up and having a lot of fun. I loved it straight away !
2) What is it about surfing you love so much?
First of course, I loved the feeling on a wave. The speed, the adrenaline… I also loved being in the water. When I am surfing I forget about the rest, I like that feeling of being in the moment, focusing on the sensations. You never get twice the same wave in surfing, there’s no routine and it’s always exciting !
3) You are now a part of the ASP World Tour. You are currently ranked 13th in the Women’s World Championship Tour. How much has the sport evolved for women over the past couple of years? Do you find the women are finally starting to get the attention and respect they deserve?
I think a few years ago only a few surfers would stand out and get the attention. Right now there are so many good surfers on tour with different styles and strengths. You never know who is going to shine in a comp and the top surfers are never safe. It makes it interesting.
4) How important are finding the right sponsors and team to support you? Is France and La Côte Basque supportive of their surfers?
I have been very lucky in this area getting sponsors at an early age. Right now I am still riding for RipCurl who have been supporting me since I was 10… and my family have always had my back. Surfing is an individual sport but you can’t go anywhere alone. Being surrounded by people you trust and believe in you is the key. Having the right support gives you so many opportunities… We have good support in the South West of France, surfing is part of the culture in this area but it’s not one of the biggest sports in France… but we are slowly getting the attention.
5) Through surfing and competing you’ve been able to travel the world, what are some of the most memorable moments thus far in your career?
I have been to many countries and I feel so lucky. I have seen beautiful places, beaches and cultures. Surprisingly one my favorite place I went to was Iceland. Nature is so beautiful and powerful there. It was mind-blowing !
I first met Kim Churchill, I believe it was 5 years ago now (already!) during Canadian Music Week in March in Toronto at the Royal York Hotel. At the time, I was working for Indica Records doing marketing, publicity, artist development, etc. My boss had heard of Kim, the Aussie guitar prodigy and one-man-band who at the time was still in his teens. He was interested in potentially signing him, so I was asked to check out one of his shows during the festival. From the first time I saw him play, I was floored. What a voice, what a presence and energy and what a wonderful storyteller. I was lucky enough to be a part of the start of Kim’s career in Canada, spending time driving him to shows, helping him at festivals with interviews and so on. One of my favorite memories from working with Kim was kayaking with him and Elmo, his right-hand man at the time, before one of his shows at O’Soleil Bar in Lac St-Jean. Kim’s career has grown exponentially since, so I was really stoked to get to ask him a few questions about his upcoming third record and also about his second passion and one of mine – surfing!
1 – Your third effort Silence Win is out on April 1st, in a few words, how would you summarize this record and your recording experience in Ucluelet?
KIM: It was the first time I think I have really matured to the point of approaching it calmly. In the past I have had such a strong desire to succeed. Sometimes this could really inhibit me. Ucluelet definitely helped relax and find a calm place to let the music just out. The whole thing just unfolded with complete ease and joy. I think its so lovely when these things happen.
2 – What do you want people to feel as they’re listening to Silence Win?
KIM: Interesting question. I don’t know that I ever personally focus on what people will feel. I focus on correctly transferring my own emotions and humanity into the music and then leave it for each person’s individual interpretation. On a basic level, I hope they enjoy it and find a solace.
3 – How does surfing and music complement each other?
KIM: Well I think that surfing is a very exciting way of being physical. It also involved a lot of trust in yourself and the ocean. The ocean is a very dangerous beast and I it a great metaphor for life in general. It can throw you around, nearly drown you or sweep you into the unknown in seconds. It involves a fair bit of trust to put yourself at its mercy, but through surfing I find the ultimate joy that is worth the risk. I think often my music reflects this process.
4 – What has busking, surfing and traveling around the world taught you about yourself and life over the past couple of years?
KIM: Busking has been a wonderful teacher of humility. I continue to do it partly for that reason. It’s also funded all of my overseas touring in the beginning and was the best way to rehearse my material to a nice cross section of people. Travelling has really inspired me. It feeds my songwriting. I find works in a wonderful cyclical way, as playing those songs then allows me to travel. This is a brilliant process I am always grateful for.
5 – What is your most magical surf spot?
KIM: Ha, too many to think of really. There are so many incredible little secrets and places I have been moved by. Angourie in Australia holds a really strong place in my heart. Its where I have recorded a bunch of my material. Some parts of Mexico have been very kind to me also.
Thanks Kim! Wishing you the utmost success with this new record. Can’t wait to shred some waves with you one day in Australia. Cheers mate!