Ucluelet surfer David Schiaffino beams with his award for winning the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Nationals men’s longboard division. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Ucluelet surfer David Schiaffino beams with his award for winning the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Nationals men’s longboard division. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Vancouver Island 2-time Canadian surf champ joins World Longboard tour

West Coast Shapes Ukee co-founder David Schiaffino set to take on world’s best

With his second National longboard title in the bag, Ucluelet surfer David Schiaffino is set to take on the world’s best.

He’ll be ditching the wetsuit for boardshorts in November to compete in back-to-back men’s longboard contests: the World Surf League (WSL) tour stop in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Nov. 15-21) and the ALAS Pro Tour contest at Macumba Beach, Brazil (Nov. 20-21).

“They are 150-km away from each other. I’m hoping the waves will be good on the 15th so they run all the events for the (WSL) then. It is what it is. Only time will tell,” he said.

Schiaffino, who grew up surfing quality waves around his hometown of Lima, Peru, says he hopes the international competition will give him the ranking he needs to qualify for the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games.

“These contests give you points for ISA World Games. When they decide what countries are going to compete they will pick Canada because I am already at the top of the list. Right now, there is no one (in men’s) doing this,” he explains.

“Joel Tudor just won his third World Title in Malibu and he is 45. I’m 40. I think longboarding is one of those sports that it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s all about the technique.”

Leading up to Nationals, Schiaffino told the Westerly he was doing three or four “power surfs” a day, which involves dedicating 40-minutes to surfing in the early morning, lunch and in the evening.

“I’m a crazy paddler. It helps. And I know how to read a wave. That’s one of the advantages I have over other (competitors),” he notes.

Schiaffino is paying for his trip to Brazil entirely out-of-pocket. He is receiving no support from Surf Canada.

“All this is paid by my own money. I don’t have any support. Of course my shop helps me a little bit, but it’s our first year in business.”

This summer, Schiaffino and T.J. Atwood opened West Coast Shapes Ukee, West Coast Campground and Ukee Poke at the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction with help from general manager Joel Sked and chef Roho.

“I’m proud to be part of a business and to be able to hold things down on the home front while our talented team goes abroad to opportunities that are open to them,” said Sked.

Riding a wave towards reconciliation, on Sept. 30 West Coast Shapes donated 20 per cent of all sales from the day for Canadian Residential School Survivors.

The day was such a success that Sked revamped the Ukee Poke order forms to include an option for customers to donate $1 with their poke orders to local Residential School survivors.

Schiaffino says it’s their way to give back.

“We are on Ucluelet First Nation lands. When the time comes that I have to give the land back to the Nation, of course that’s way in the future, I want to give them a profitable, easy to manage busy,” said Canada’s top longboarder.


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