Drift: Beginnings, now, & all of the in between
Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Drift was born out of salty hair, wind beaten clothing, and worn cracked hands. Liam and I have been friends a long time now. We instantly connected over a passion for the ocean and vehicles. Since the early days of our friendship, we have been trying to master the art of the figure 8 on a wave. This is when you are sharing a ‘party wave’ and one surfer goes high while the other cuts back low. If you get lucky and can time the sections on a wave you can complete the figure 8 a few times. We’ve only been successful 2 times, so far, but it’s a hilarious joke that we keep up and we’re always looking to kook it up in the water. As they say, the person with the biggest smile is having the most fun. Through our friendship we’ve also acquired several unique surfboards, and picked up more than a few project vehicles, bikes, cars, trucks, engines, etc. Admittedly, Liam is the brains behind the mechanical side of these projects, while I play more monkey see, monkey do, and add a pinch of my style here and there. Well, I guess my point here is that all the fun we’ve had over the years, combined with a desire to find our own road, has led us to start Drift MFG Co.
We started Drift in 2019 at Tofino’s Saturday Makers’ Market. We’ve been crafting for years, primarily making things for ourselves to make life easier, better, or cooler. This morphed into making goods for friends and we thought; ‘Let’s see if anyone else is into these things’.
We did our own sewing, woodworking, glassing and shaping, fabricating, screen printing, alchemy, etc. We’ve always taken the stance that we’d rather repurpose something than see it in the landfill. This motto is supported by an incredible community on the west coast and by like-minded people from around the world. Our first season at the market was well received, and despite both of us working full-time and filling our spare time creating goods to keep our market table filled for each Saturday, we decided we wanted to keep things going.
We were starting to make plans for 2020 when, boom, we all got hit with the never-ending story of Covid-19. Liam lost his job, I got promoted at my old job, and Drift took the proverbial backseat. The dream was still very much alive and with the bonus of having time, something we all typically lack, Liam got to shaping surfboards.
In fact, he kept himself almost too busy. Rebuilding his trusty ’93 Toyota pickup to be one of the coolest trucks on the coast, testing board design theories of new and old, making unique tools, and genuinely being the creative monster he has always been. At the end of 2020 we got a small break in the dream, a retail location became available and it was time to shake things up.
So begins our plans for our shop at 511 Campbell Street in Tofino. We sourced as many reclaimed materials as we could to build our space. With 30+ year old cedar planks once walked on by thousands at the end of Campbell street, now used to showcase Drift goods and other locally sourced products to compliment our shop vibe. We built it out to be a play on the workshops we spend so much of our time, but with a lot less dirt! We opened our retail doors at the end of June 2021 and haven’t looked back.
We hope you love our space as much as we do, and if you haven’t yet, you’ve got to come in for a coffee and shoot the shit with us. We’ve got time. For the love of surfing, motorcycles, and coffee. We are makers of utility.
We like to create. Plain and simple. But we couldn’t do what we’ve done without the help of some incredible friends. Without naming names, we are so incredibly thankful for the support we’ve received in all areas of our building of Drift, from the designs to the coffee, the heavy lifting, the heavy thinking and our regulars. Thanks to everyone who’s had a hand in making these pipe dreams come alive.
Oh, if you aren’t sure what the MFG stands for in Drift MFG Co…. we’ll just leave it there for interpretation. We’ve heard a lot of funny ideas.
Ryan and Liam