The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve hosted the Canadian national surfing championship last weekend at Wickaninnish Beach.
Peter Devries, of Tofino, was the national champion for the eighth time in his career. Devries is pretty stoked that Canadian surfing is getting its time in the spotlight, but his win is also important to him, personally, as it’s the first step in qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Devries beat out Costa Rican surfer Sean Foerster, Hawaii’s Cody Young and fellow Tofino surfer Michael Darling in the last heat of the day amidst lousy surfing conditions. The conditions were so brutal that most of the surfers could barely hear thanks to the high winds.
The women’s title went to Bethany Zelasko, who beat out Sanoa Dempfle-Olin, Paige Alms and Mathea Dempfle-Olin. Zelasko is only 18, so she also took the title for the 18 and under girls division. Zelasko said that her goal was to go out and win every single heat, and ultimately, the championship.
The 18 and under boys division title went to twelve-year-old Wheeler Hasburgh from California. It was his first time surfing in Canada and he said the experience was “awesome.”
On the last day of the competition conditions did improve a bit and provided the longboarders and stand-up-paddlers with some pretty clean waves.
Christian Thompson, a former pro surfer, took the title in men’s longboard. It wasn’t an easy victory, though, as Reed Platenius, Jean-Laurence Vachon Vigneault and Jeremy Bowery all gave him a solid run for the money.
In girls 16 and under longboard, Mathea Dempfle-Olin took the title for the second year in a row, beating out Lydia Ricard, Hanna Scott, and Leah Oke.
Hawaiian surfer Jeffrey Spencer took the title for the men’s stand-up paddleboard category, while Catherine Bruhwiler was the champion in the women’s division, as well as placing fifth in women’s shortboard.
Bruhwiler had five other family members competing in the Canadian Surf Nationals, and she told reporters that she’s thrilled to see what’s happening with the Canadian surf scene. She mentioned her love of the training, health benefits and overall lifestyle of the sport.