Our most recent trip to Vancouver Island showed us that Canadian surfing is alive and well and the future has never looked brighter. With the recent addition of surfing to the Summer Olympics — new found and well deserved attention is being paid to our sport in Canada. While Tofino and the surrounding areas have served as the nexus of the sports development, it was notable to see Canadian surfers coming from far and wide to compete in the Rip Curl Nationals presented by Red Bull.
Here at Surf the Greats, we’ve been fortunate enough to watch many of the surfers develop over the years — both locally and abroad. This year, the open competition saw perennial favourites Noah Cohen and Pete Devries playing hospitable but formidable hosts to Cody Young, Shane Campbell, and Sean Forrester visiting from warmer climes. Logan Landry brought his notable talent from the Atlantic Ocean and TJ Atwood represented the Great Lakes with style in the Longboard Final. The unmistakable form and power of Paige Alms was on full display but Bethany Zelasko outshined the entire field in the Women’s final to take the win. Seeing the evolution of young phenoms like Mathea Olin and Reed Platenius has provided annual inspiration with added thrills coming from winners Sanoa Olin and Wheeler Hasburgh in the U18 divisions.
It was hard not to feel uniquely proud to be Canadian as we stood on the sandbars of Wickaninnish Beach within Pacific Rim National Park. The camaraderie demonstrated between competitors and fans alike was awe-inspiring and a model for how all competitions should feel and run. The Canadian Surf Association and Rip Curl Canada have elevated our national surfing scene to yet another echelon and put the necessary systems in place to ensure continued growth of our sport and its riders.
Words and images by Lucas Murnaghan.