Spotlight: Relic Surf Shop & School, Ucluelet

Can you give us a little background on Relic Surf Shop? How was it started and what’s your vision for it?

We had started surfboard rentals from our Inn and the demand in Ucluelet was needed to avoid the drive to Tofino to get anything surf related. In 2008, we decided to open Relic Surf Shop to operate year round to provide the community with the surf essentials, rentals and knowledge to people visiting Ucluelet. The vision for Relic is to continue to offer a high standard of service and knowledge to the community also to achieve long term relationships with our customers, and to support the community through volunteering and supporting events. 

You have two shops, one in Ucluelet and another in Tofino/Ucluelet Junction. Why two locations and how do these two shops differ?

The Junction location (JX by Relic) focuses on summer essentials for our beaches. It’s also a great spot to stop if you forgot anything leaving town like wax, fin keys, leashes, or a coffee at the food trucks nearby so you don’t have to come all the way back to town. The Ucluelet shop is open all year and offers everything needed for surfing all year.

What’s your favorite part about owning a surf shop? 

Being stoked to be at work every day and be passionate about what we are doing. It’s all about having fun working at the local surf shop. 

“The vision for Relic is to continue to offer a high standard of service and knowledge to the community.”

How do you feel your business fits/reflects the community? 

Full time, Ucluelet has about 2000 residents and being able to help anyone of those residents with their surfing needs and supporting their businesses in return is how we best fit the community. 

When is the best time of the year to visit and surf Ucluelet and the surrounding beaches? 

It’s great to visit all year long; winter surfing is peak storm season but you must enjoy constant grey skies and rain, summer is the best for small waves at every beach, but spring and fall is where it’s at. 

What are your favorite local surf spots?

Any of the beaches nearby are incredible as we get swell all year round and each has its own good day. Somedays (or weeks) can be a struggle to get out the back but it keeps us in shape and lets us appreciate the good days.

“We are producers of stoke by giving our visitors the opportunity to connect with nature.”

Can you tell us what your favorite Manera product has been? 

The 6/4 Meteor Magma has been a game changer when the Northern Pacific whips up the NW wind and the mountains around Ucluelet have been covered in snow. The balance of flexibility and warmth makes it the perfect suit for the Canadian beach breaks. 

Is there a specific Manera product that your shop employees gravitate towards?

When we get to take our hoods off for the few months of the year and the sun shows up, we get to put our ‘warm water’ suits on and wear the 4/3 Seafarer. It feels good to wear something light and feel closer to the water. 

Is there anything else we should know about Relic Surf Shop? 

Here at Relic we don’t only consider ourselves a surf shop. We are producers of STOKE by giving our visitors the opportunity to connect with nature. Partnering with our local Surf Rider chapter and the Ancient Forest Alliance to protect the environment in which we get to play in. Participating in local beach clean ups, providing a space for people to drop off their retired wetsuits to be shredded and reused, and repurposing old surf accessories and wax. 

1998 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet
V0R 3A0 BC – Canada 
(250) 726-4421

Rhys Smith’s Blue House – Scotland #3

Addicted to the spectacular cliffs and rugged landscape, the cold waters and the lonesome waves, Rhys is back in Scotland for an almost meditative session. Fully in tune with the capricious Scottish swells and aware of the limited daylight in the winter, he knows he must make the most of every spot he finds. 

55° 57′ 11.7036” N 3° 11′ 17.7612” W 
Athlete: Rhys Smith
Content by Katie Smith

Rhys Smith’s Blue House – Hebrides #2

Like many other surfers, Rhys Smith feels most at home in the water, surfing the blue waves of the world. Traveling the world to find a good spot, we find him on his doorstep seemingly everywhere.

In this second episode, Rhys travels to the Outer Hebrides, an island chain off the northwest coast of mainland Scotland. In water below 10°C, sometimes under the falling snow, these cold and salty surf sessions were ones to remember.

57°45’36.00″ N 7°01’12.00″ W

Athlete: Rhys Smith
Content by Katie Smith

Introducing the Wetsuit Brand Dedicated to Keeping Core Surf Culture Alive

Source: Wavelength Mag

Remember the feeling the first time you walked into a surf shop?

The smell of wax and fresh neoprene. The glint off the boards that lined the racks. The otherworldly surfing beaming out of a screen overhead and the local luminary talking story in the corner. 

Since time immemorial, the surf shop has been the terrestrial centerpiece of our local communities. A place to convene, trade tales, and glean insights on the best local banks and the chance of scoring them tomorrow. Somewhere to examine cutting-edge new gear close up, and get advice from the sage, but skeptical proprietor, who’s seen more wetsuit re-designs and leash innovations than you’ve had hot dinners. 

Of course, the surf shop’s oeuvre has shifted a little in recent decades. Now, many specialist retailers have grown an online arm too. But, their role within the community remains much the same. In fact, as surfing booms and mushrooms into an ever more mainstream version of itself – where fast fashion juggernauts like Primark feel bold enough to throw their hats into the wetsuit-making ring – the existence of core surf shops, run by surfers and stocked with independent, surfer-owned brands is more vital than ever. 

That’s just one of the reasons high-quality hardware specialists Manera have put them right at the heart of their business model. As an increasing number of watersports brands have sought to cut out shops entirely by selling to their customers direct, Manera have gone in the complete opposite direction – becoming the only big wetty brand to sell solely through selected specialist retailers. Why? It all comes down to their principles.

See, Manera is a family business – created initially as the accessories arm of the wildly popular wind-sport brand F-One, established by Raphaël and Sophie Salles back in 1994. In 2012, the couple’s son, Julien Salles, came on board as brand manager, leading Manera’s first forays into the world of surf-specific wetsuits. In the early days of the company, a small network of shops and salespeople were integral to its success, with the loyalty and trust developed in those years holding true ever since. “It’s why we’re here today,” says Julien, “so, we decided we should respect that and make sure a good shop never disappears.” 

One of the examples that looms largest for him is Side Shore, a brick-and-mortar store located in northwest France. They’ve been selling F-One and Manera since the very beginning and for Julien, they represent all the ways in which a shop can be a pillar of the community. As well as sharing their unparalleled knowledge of the region, they organize events, run a repair service and nurture up-and-coming local talent through sponsorship.

While the brand’s approach is designed to look after industry partners like them, it also holds significant benefits for the customer. Beyond ensuring surf shops will still be there when you need them, it’s a great way to guarantee the quality of the product. Because, rather than hiding in the brand’s own warehouse waiting for an online sale, each of Manera’s products are handled and approved by dozens of watersports-loving shop owners around the world, who of course, are only going to stock the best for their customers. With each and every Manera wetsuit, as well as maximum flex, X10D fleece, and thermal protection, you’re buying into a commitment to keep core surf culture alive.

Spotlight: Thalia Surf Shop

Thalia Surf Shop is a family-run business. Can you give us some insight on how it started and what your vision for the shop is?

Jim Cocores, Nick’s father, started Thalia Street Surf Shop so Nick grew up working at the shop and learning the trade. When the time came in 2001, Nick took the reins and began Thalia Surf Shop a few doors down, but on the same street corner. An art gallery opened next door soon after, making opportunities to host for Laguna’s art walk and to bring the community together around the shop. In 2010, Thalia Surf teamed up with Vans and began one of the only few partnership stores that is still going today. The vision of the shop has always been to create a classic but modern surf experience.

Thalia focuses on smaller, niche brands rather than the bigger ones. When did this get started and how has it made you stand out from other surf shops?  

The smaller niche brands are what we care about. These are the brands that focus on the quality of the product they are making, rather than the quantity and mass production. They are also usually working with unique artists that bring charisma to the shop when the product hits our shelves.

We have always had this mindset when creating new products for the Thalia Surf label as well: Bringing in local artists, a local screen printer and manufacturers to pass along a true California-made product with a story.

” The vision of the shop has always been to create a classic but modern surf experience. “

You have some unique surfboards in your shop, including tons of locally shaped boards. What are the driving factors in choosing what shapes you carry? 

There are so many great local shapers that have passed through our shop. Thankfully, they are aware of the history of surfboard building, where it began, and where it can go. We have many vintage boards hanging from the ceiling of the shop from Jim Cocores’ collection to keep us inspired. All the new boards that come in each month reflect the shaper who made them, and the history lessons they have learned along the way.

The surfboards we carry are models shaped and tested by the shapers who make them before we order versions of their crafts. We dig the shapes of the 60s, 70s, 80s and lean towards single fin or twin fin boards whenever we can. The driving factors in how we choose what shapes to carry has to do with whatever trip each shaper is on at the time, and the shapes they are making for the specific waves in each season. 

You originally began screen printing your own shirts but then eventually partnered with Forward Screen Printing (FSP) for all your printing needs. Why is it so important to you to keep your screen printing local and close to home?

It always made sense to do it ourselves, the DIY spirit. Sean at FSP and Nick have been close friends since the beginning, and that was the next step in the growing process as a company. Expanding production to FSP helped Nick and the crew at the shop focus on other aspects of the company, in order to further tell the story of a local surf shop in Laguna Beach.

” The smaller niche brands are what we care about. These are the brands that focus on the quality of the product they are making, rather than the quantity and mass production. “

What’s the best thing about owning and running a surf shop? 

The friendly and inspiring community, the everchanging interesting and totally cool staff, just being a block from the beach, and getting to chat about surfing all day.

When is the best time of the year to visit and surf Laguna Beach and the surrounding beaches? 

Just before spring and just after summer. That’s when the crowds thin out, things calm down, and the weather is still heaven. If there is any swell, a medium tide is best for behind the shop out on Thalia Street Beach.

What drew you to offering MANERA products in your shop?

We were looking for a quality wetsuit to sell year-round. We read about the 3-D pattern making of the suits and just had to check it out!

Can you tell us what your favorite MANERA product has been?

The Seafarer 3.2mm is ideal for California water and can essentially be worn year-round here, whether it’s a cold morning in the summer, or a nice warm day in the winter. It’s a very useful wetsuit. I also heard the hoods and gloves are rad too!

915 S. Coast Hwy,
92651 Laguna Beach, CA
(949) 497-3292

Style on Land, Performance on Water

With 3 boardshorts models each with unique cuts and materials, we’ve got something for every surfer, whether you wear them in or out of the water.


Our most technical boardshort of the range is now built in coconut fibers!

Coconut is widely used in the food and cosmetic industries, and once the inner portion has been used, the shell is just thrown away.

We turned these coconut fibers into activated carbon, which happens to be a fantastic boardshort material. 

We use a PFOA/PFOS-free durable water repellent, as these chemicals are very persistent and harmful to the environment once released into the ocean.

– MID LEG 20″ –

Squareflex Technologies


Its 4-way stretch is worth just as much as any modern technical material out there. The Squareflex will meet your every move.


Recycling waste prevents the use for new raw material. Furthermore, coconut fibers are blended with recycled polyester to create a performing and eco-friendlier boardshort.

Waterproof & Dries Fast

Activated carbon doesn’t hold water; thus, the Squareflex dries fast and stays light and comfortable. The wet fabric doesn’t stick to your legs, which avoids rashes in unpleasant locations.

Prevents Bad Smell

One of activated carbon’s main properties is to prevent bad smells. Yes, even when stuffed for days in the back of your car. It puts an end to smelly boardshorts that you’ve been forgetting to dry for a “little while.”

Strong & Durable

Our boardshorts are not made to spend the day by the swimming pool, and this one is no exception. The coconut fibers blended with recycled polyester create a very strong material that will follow you for many trips under the sun.


The HAAPITI’s got style but doesn’t sacrifice on technique. It uses a performing 4-way stretch fabric and the material repels water like a charm. They work great when worn both in and out of the water. For our new collection, the HAAPITI is back with a slightly shorter cut and a bit narrower fit.

– MID LEG 18″ –

Haapiti Technologies

Water Repellent

All of our boardshorts receive the same ultra-performing hydrophobic treatment. They stay light while riding and dry fast while on land for ultimate comfort.

4-Way Stretch

Think of a stylish boardshort with the characteristics of a technical one. The 4-way stretch brings style without scarifying stretch, so you will enjoy your boardshort both in and out of the water.

Strong and Durable

Our boardshorts are not made to spend the day by the swimming pool. The thick polyester yarn of the Haapiti will follow you everywhere all year-round.


The Gambas is built in a fine ripstop material that is stretchy, light and stays dry. Its design is timeless. It is cut a bit shorter to fit just above the knee and has been tried and proven on the water and for post-session beers.

– MID LEG 18″ –

Gambas Technologies

Fast Drying

The Gambas is made in a fast-drying fabric; thus, it doesn’t stay wet and heavy once on land.

Strong and Durable

Our boardshorts are not made to spend the day by the swimming pool. The thick polyester yarn of the Gambas will follow you everywhere all year-round.

4-Way Stretch

Think of a stylish boardshort with the characteristics of a technical one. The 4-way stretch brings style without scarifying stretch, so you will enjoy your boardshort both in and out of the water.

FUN FIRST – Episode N°3 

Why not try something completely different this time?” With a slightly unconventional approach, the project “Fun First” was thus born as two childhood friends set out on a mission to find the most uninviting, atypical, and overlooked waves all over the region. They aimed to prove that fun is possible anywhere, even if the spot doesn’t look ideal at first sight or if the weather is dreadful.