Feet are just hitting the ground after the Vans Duct Tape Invitational, a surf/festival that focuses on the stylish, progressive nature of longer boards. But it is also a hub of creative individuals, musicians and surfers mix with the general populace for a relaxed, chilled vibe. Shapers show off their latest hand-made crafts, all set against the diverse backdrop of Ericeira in Portugal.
And with the event wrapped up (Kaniela Stewart and Chloe Calmon took the wins in the surf comp) we sat down with two shredders who perfectly encompass the ethos of the event; Lee-Ann Curren who has been making her mark on the music scene for some time now, as well as carving her own path in the surfing world and Reunion Island native Adrien Toyon, who may just be one of the most stylish surfers on the planet. No joke.
Enjoy some vignettes from the best party in town, the surf and music correlation and just how much Portugal means to the general surf collective.
How did you find Ericeira, where have you been surfing?
Ericera is great, I like to go there. It’s one of the places I used to go when I was a grom for surf trips.. the place is nice, clean, Portuguese people are great. We have been surfing some crazy lefts... it was really windy [laughs].
The Duct Tape Invitational has this really unique vibe – what do you think makes it special?
I like the vibes, it’s a relaxed event, most of people that surf in it I didn’t know before the event, but at the end it’s like a big group of mates having fun in the waves. I made some new friends and get to see some cool surfing, bit different that what I am used to. I would say it’s refreshing.
How was the general vibe, it’s got that relaxed, chilled atmosphere but the surfing comp is no joke…
Well these guys are shredding and they all have a different and unique style on the waves, it’s pretty awesome to watch. It’s the chillest contest on earth for sure. I like how they judge as well, they used my mate Sam Partaix (pro skater), I think it’s great because he did bring some fresh perspective to the panel and makes it more complete.
Yeah for sure, that's what gives it a bit of a different vibe... but also, tell us more about these waves around the contest...
[laughs] It was super windy all week but the day before we arrived it was pumping everywhere, I was like, 'is it always like this' [laughs] The most important thing for me was to get down there and spend some time with all the Vans family. I like any wave down there, there is so much potential when it’s on.
Hey Lee-Ann,how's it going? What do you think makes Ericeira so special?
I've been going to Ericeira since I was little, always loved this place and the right hand pointbreaks are some of my favourite waves in Europe. Always nice to come back to Portugal.
The Duct Tape Invitational isn’t like a normal comp, what do you think sets it apart from others?
It's great to see the best classical longboarders in the world perform, it's something we don't have the chance to see very often. The vibe also is pretty unique, there's a proximity with the surfers, live music all day, some hand shapes from Vans team riders for everyone to try out and some art exhibitions. The competitors don't seem to feel any negative kind of pressure and they always put on an unbelievable show.
There’s an emphasis on the festival putting athletes close to fans, is that something you enjoy?
I've done the duct tape festival as a "shaper" and it was really cool to see people going for a surf on the boards I'd made, and to get their thoughts and feedback on them.
I like the proximity, it makes everyone more relaxed, there's no super VIP place or anything, the best place to be is on the sand or in the water, and it just feels like spending a weekend at the beach with friends, just a lot of them.
How do you balance music and surfing, which one is your passion?
They're both my passions. To balance it out, when I surf I do it as if it's all that matters, and then I do the same with music. I I try to put all my being into both, and kind of organise my time so I don't get too exhausted.
Anyone inspire you from the Vans Duct Tape?
Actually so many to name, everyone was surfing amazing with a unique style. Little groms Tosh Tudor and Jules Lepecheux were ripping in the water, in the skate bowl and on the dancefloor so I think they win the all round performance. And Sunfoot inspired me musically.
Want more behind the scenes snippets from the Duct Tape Invitational? See our wrap up HERE.