Tofino Surf company: Cold Surf Co. – La Nina's Leashes
by Malcolm Johnson, Tofino
Vancouver Island’s indigenous surf industry is quite the proliferate
thing these days, and with the talents of shapers like Tofino’s
Stefan Aftanas, whose boards are being ridden by town heroes Peter
Devries and Sepp Bruhwiler, the local waveriding community seems to
be nearing self-sufficiency. The best stuff, as British Columbians
are sure to know, is homegrown, and the recently estab- lished Cold
Surf Co. is joining the local industry as a provider of ultra-functional
surf accessories. The babychild of Tofino resident Nina Waltl, Cold’s
territory is leashes, board bags and board socks, as well as canine
leashes for our ever-stoked quadripedal surf check companions.
Cold’s product comes from solid sources – no suspicious
Third World manufacturing, all of it handmade by Nina and her industrial
sewing machine in her house near the Tonquin woods. A snowboarder who
discovered surfing in the ‘90’s in Morocco, Nina ended
up on the Island and has since distinguished herself as one of the
few female year-round regulars at the Tofino breaks. “Last fall
and winter I was surfing a lot, and had a lot of time to think,” she
says, “and that’s when I had the idea and started to go
ahead with it. I had help from the government’s self-employment
program, they kind of hold your hand through the whole process of starting
a business, and without that help and support this would’ve been
really hard to do.”
Nina’s leashes are an independent Canadian alternative to American
and Australian products, and they’re of equal, if not superior,
quality. They’re cold water specific, with longer ankle straps
to accommodate the thickness of a wetsuit and boots, and they’ve
got key pockets for our somewhat untrustworthy parking lots. Sewn-on
leash loops, brass swivels rated to 800 pounds and hand-tied urethane
cords mean no breakage of v-molded plastic parts, and that means no
swimming in after leashes fly apart in frigid winter storm swells.
They’re made for locals by locals, and that for sure is a good
With their stylized logo of a maple leaf laid over the Oxford mathematician
John Wallis’ 17th-century infinity symbol, Cold’s goods
have been steadily appearing in the Tofino lineups over the last few
months, and Nina has enlisted local surfers Ollie Atkey and grom ripper
/ future world champion Noah Cohen as her first team riders. “When
you know the people you’re selling to,” Nina says, “you
have a lot more invested in making sure it’s a good product,
because your reputation is depending on it.” She seems to have
stood by that statement; her designs are getting great reviews and
proving themselves to be of the highest quality.
Backed by a six-month
materials and workmanship warranty, Cold’s gear is available
through Storm Surf Shop in Tofino, at www.coldsurfco.com, or by emailing
Nina at email@example.com.
Malcolm Johnson is a Tofino-based journalist and kayak guide.
Tofino surf comany Cold Surf Co. makes surf board leashes, board bags. Nina Watl handmakes surf accessories near Tonquin woods.