These unique surfboards from the Tofino Boardwalk Pilot Project were displayed last October during Tofino's Queen of the Peak Competition.

Artistic surfboard initiative takes flight in Tofino

A quiver of vividly detailed surfboards is set to take shape on the Coast.

A quiver of vividly detailed surfboards is set to take shape on the Coast as the Tofino Arts Council (TAC) dives into campaigning for its Tofino Boardwalk Project.

The initiative, originally dreamed up by Tofino councillor Duncan McMaster as a way to raise funds for the arts, connects local artists and businesses through one awesome medium—the surfboard.

Project coordinator Cindy Hutchison is actively calling for artists’ submissions and business sponsorships.

“We are aiming to get 16 boards done for this round. We hope to have all our sponsors and artists lined up in the springtime,” Hutchison said.

“It costs $1200 to sponsor a board and you get it for three months. It will be up at your location for surf season, which is August, September, and October…We’re also going to produce a Boardwalk map, so people can pick up a map and go visit all the boards.”

For last years’ pilot project, TAC commissioned six local artists—Mark Hobson, Jeremy Koreski, Roy Henry Vickers, Cory Diamond, Pete Clarkson, and Christy Feaver—to transform surfboards into works of art.

The collection of boards travelled to various surf events as an art exhibit, and they now rest in the hands of the businesses that sponsored them. Koreskis’ board is upstairs at Shelter while the Mark Hobson board can be found at Driftwood Cafe.

Tofino surfboard shaper Stefan Aftanas primed five out the six boards and has signed on to help with the creation of future boards.

“We want to do two boards, one for the elementary school and one for the high school,” Hutchison said adding one wild card board of an up-and-coming artist under 25 will be selected by the TAC.

Creators of all experience levels and walks of life are encouraged to submit applications. TAC is looking to attract painters, photographers, sculptures, wood carvers, and more.

“The sky’s the limit,” Hutchison said.

Once selected, artists will receive a $200 honourarium for their work and will get a 10 per cent commission off the sale of their board once it goes to auction at the end of the surf season. “With the range of talent within the project, we felt like a $200 honourarium would cover the middle ground and some of the supplies needed,” Hutchison said.

“It doesn’t cover everything obviously. If you have Mark Hobson doing one versus somebody that’s just starting out, the values are much different in art.”

While this surfboard art parade is largely Tofino based, Hutchison isn’t opposed to letting it soar outside the community.

“We’ve kind of just started it as a Tofino project, but if there’s interest in going elsewhere with it, we’re willing to make it work,” she said.

“The thought is that this might not be the only year that we do this. Maybe it rolls out to be a Pacific Rim, kind of, encompassing project. Or further out maybe it’s a Vancouver Island project.”