Surf Shacks 074

Marie-France Roy
Vancouver Island, BC

Tucked away in a very special Northwestern corner of the world, there is a sustainably built, solar-powered home on a gorgeous playland compound. There are free range hens, a green house bursting at the seams with fresh vegetables and herbs, a sauna cabin on a hill with a cold plunge pool on the deck, and oh yes, a glorious halfpipe among the trees. This is the home of professional snowboarder and environmental activist, Marie-France Roy.

Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Marie-France Roy. I love snowboarding, which I have been doing for a living for just over 10 years. I am also passionate about the environment. I love nature, the outdoors, surfing, gardening, and all the simple pleasures of life that provide so much happiness.

Where are you from? How long have you lived here in Vancouver Island?

I am originally from small town Les Eboulements, Quebec and moved to the mountains of Whistler in 2004. I later fell in love with the west coast of Vancouver Island and have been here for 10 years, spending half the year in the mountains and half the year by the beach.

Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone

How did you get into snowboarding in the first place?

My father got me and my two older brothers into snowboarding from when I was 11 years old and it truly shaped my life and the person I am today. It’s allowed me to focus and work on something I love from a young age, helped me develop self esteem, strengthened my connection with nature, forced me outside of my comfort zone in so many ways like facing fears, traveling, meeting new people etc. I never thought it would become a full time career, but I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity.

You have contributed a lot to the sport over the years. What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am proud of the video parts I was able to put together and the Transworld Magazine awards I received. But probably the most meaningful outcome for me is to be in a situation where I can give back. To be able to use snowboarding as a connector and messenger for environmental appreciation and advocacy is a very valuable tool to help us understand that we need to protect what we love. Especially at such a critical time in history where we are facing irreversible environmental damage that will deeply affect everyone.

What are your top 3 snow destinations and why?

1. British Columbia. Best mountains, best terrain, best powder, incredible and pristine landscapes, endless opportunities.

2. Chile. Beautiful mountains, amazing surf, great people.

3. Japan. Deep pow, great culture, amazing food.

What about surfing, did that interest come later? How were you first introduced to it and did your experiences with snowboarding help?

The first time I ever surfed was in Iceland when I was 21 years old with a wetsuit full of holes and didn’t catch a single wave. But I always wanted to surf. So when I moved to the Island, I was able to surf almost everyday in the summer — and I love it so much. Snowboarding doesn’t help at all I think, it is so different! But I love learning something new and to be fully submersed by water and the elements, so it makes up for how hard it is to learn!

Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone

Tell us about your unique home compound here. What was the inspiration behind it?

I wanted to build a home with a small footprint. So my goal was to build something beautiful but small, comfortable, efficient and that will last with as many natural or recycled materials as possible. I was definitely inspired initially by the Lloyd Khan books such as “Builders of the Pacific Coast”. I took a one week course about sustainable building with “The Mudgirls” on Saltspring Island and from the first day of the course I was so inspired that I decided to build my own on my property.

Tell us more about “The Little Things”and your passion for sustainable living.

The Little Things is a movie that we made a few years ago with my incredible filmmaker friend Darcy Turenne. I wanted to feature snowboarders who have taken environmental initiatives and or have inspiring lifestyles. It was an amazing project and super fun to connect snowboarding with activism. It’s available on iTunes!

What are your favorite parts about your home?

I love how cozy and simple it is. I love that it didn’t cost me nearly as much as a regular home to build and a lot of natural materials and waste went into the process. I feel like I live in a fairy house! I also feel like I learned so much from building it. I had lots of help for sure from my brother, Alex and many friends, but it is so rewarding to build your own home and also putting some thoughts into where your materials come from and how to reduce waste. You have a lot more appreciation for things when you build them yourself and when you don’t live with this illusion of unlimited resources.

Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone
Matt Titone

What are your favorite parts about the area in which you live?

I love how wild it is here. The beaches, the rivers, the lakes, the wildlife. The surf isn’t always the best but you can get a wave pretty much everyday of the year. I also love this community and the people. We are truly so lucky to live here.

How often are you here versus on the road traveling?

I spend my winter in the mountains near Pemberton and will travel a bit from there too so I am not home all year which makes it extra special when I do get to be home.

What’s it like being a surfer in British Columbia? What are the pros and the cons?

It is cold at times for sure but it is what keeps it less crowded in a way too and the water quality here is so good too. I have been lucky enough to surf in amazing places like New Zealand, the Mentawais, Peru, Mexico, Chile, etc. and they all have world class waves, but BC has it’s own unique charm in different ways. It’s pretty cool that the mountains and the ocean are so close here you can snowboard and surf in the same day if you want. But mainly I love the quality of life that we have here.

Any parting thoughts, words of wisdom, or sage advice?

I don’t know! Something like this I guess: Live simply, respect and protect nature, be good to yourself and others and focus on what makes you happy!

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Matt Titone

A goofy-footed graphic designer who hails from the first state, Delaware. After attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL then graduating from SCAD in Savannah, GA with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, Matt moved to NYC and found work as a freelance designer and art director. In 2006 he moved west to Venice, CA where he co-founded ITAL/C Studio, constantly seeks left hand point breaks, and tries very hard to avoid crowds & traffic.

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