Robert Fiorella

Robert Fiorella

Living on a float house in the small town of Tofino, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

I originally grew up in Ridgeville Ontario but now live in the small town of Tofino located on the west coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada. And more specifically I live on a floating home not far from Tofino off of Strawberry Island. I have been living in Tofino on-and-off for the past 3 years, bouncing back and forth between here and school. I first moved here after my first year of university but had been fortunate enough to have done trips out here during high school. I guess thats probably when the seed was planted.

Tofino Float Boat House Canadian Float Boat House inside

Living on a float house is pretty sick for the most part! Some of the cons are boating back and forth to land daily, this can get old especially during the winter when its cold and rainy everyday. Its not a far boat ride, but sometimes the waters can be quite treacherous especially if your in a small boat like mine. As a testament to how bad the conditions can get, I once sunk my roommates new boat, but that is whole other story. With that being said I am pretty new to the whole boating thing, so its definitely been a steep learning curve, but my room mate Jaime is super knowledgeable when it comes to anything ocean related, so he has been awesome mentor for me and I have learned a lot. Boating back and forth proves to be the root of most challenges. From simple things like getting groceries to trying to have buddies over. But the pros out way the cons hands down, being able to catch crabs right below my house is sweet and the view is unbeatable, not to mention having the odd orca cruise by every once in a while ain’t that bad either!

Ocra whales, Tonfino, Canada Robert Fiorella at home Robert Fiorella

I am inspired by many things. Since I am 21 I am born out of the internet generation. I have definitely taken a lot of inspiration from lots of online content especially Instagram. I think its sweet how with the advent of smart phones everyone has a camera in their hand at all times. I believe this can make for some pretty inspiring photography. But in general I think I get inspired by people that are stoked on life and are passionate about what they’re doing. Thats why I think Tofino is so awesome because everyone seems to be stoked on their own endeavours and have their own things going, and that pushes me to pursue my own cinematography and photography.

Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada

Tofino in the winter is cold and rainy, and day light is limited. Tofino is a tourist town, so work slows down a lot, but this is good as it allows me to spend more time to taking photos, surfing and going on local trips around the island witch works out well as the surf is better in the winter. Due to where Tofino is located on the pacific, we are fortunate enough to catch lots of different swell directions, so the surf can get pretty good here particularly in the fall and winter months. The town during the winter gets really quiet which I like. Its super low energy and relaxing with many nights of board games and trivia. Summer is a different story. The town is buzzing with people, the beaches are packed with bodies soaking up summer vibes. So most locals are busy working. But there is plenty of summer shenanigans to be had with all the people in town.

Surfing Tofino Surfers Tofino

The surf scene here is super cool. Tofino as a surf town is very new in the grand scheme of things and is not as refined as other places in the world, for example California and Hawaii have a long legacy of surfing culture. Surfing in Tofino first began with draft dodgers who came up from the US during the Vietnam War. This makes it an exciting time to be in the surf scene in Tofino as it is in a boom phase. Year after year the town gets busier and busier, and Tofino is getting a lot of international attention, which I think is awesome. However just as just as we are growing, we encounter the same problems as other surf communities. Localism can be a bit of a problem out here and this is something I have become more aware of. For example, as some of the best waves are not easily accessible and primarily boat access, it makes the spot that much more heated if a crowd begins to form, particularly with the more senior surfers. As I am new to the scene I am still learning the rules, so I try not and step on any toes and approach it with respect. Especially to those surfers like Pete Devries and Ralph Bruhwhiler who have dedicated their lives to this place and surfing in it, so I am definitely more alert when I see them out in the water.

Otters on the float boat Friends on the float boat house

I actually got into cinematography first, I come from a snowboard background, so going to the local mountain every weekend with my friends, and making little short snowboard edits was where I got my first taste. This led me to getting my first SLR camera, not for the photography function but for the HD movie function. I slowly started getting into the photography end of things. After I blew my knee out in a snowboarding accident, I started taking my photography more seriously. This was at the same time surfing was taking precedence over snowboarding. It was at this point I bought my first water housing, and started shooting surfers in the water as treading water was good for my rehab. Now surf photography is my day job.

Ocra whale, Tonfino, Canada

In the near future I plan on finishing my Bachelors degree in Outdoor Rec. Tourism Management. But also trying to pursue surf photography and cinematography as much as I can. I don’t have major travel plans at the moment, I am just really stoked to be on the West Coast of BC. There is so much to explore in my own backyard. However in the winter escaping to some warmer waves is very tempting.

Robert has also been involved in our Waves & Trees Project which celebrates these to two elements and how they inspire and continue to map out our adventures. You can see some of Robert's photo's for this project here.

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