Peter Devries masterfully landed a frontside air manoeuver in the dying embers of the men’s shortboard final to give him the score he needed to claim his ninth National title.
The Mother’s Day victory at Wickaninnish Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve puts the Canadian surf titan on track to booking a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“That was a crazy day. Crazy, crazy day,” Devries said at the awards ceremony.
“Thanks to everybody who came down here and supported. Huge thanks to Dom and especially to all the event staff who helped out this week. Thanks to all the judges who put in their time. I know it’s not easy being a judge. Thanks a lot for putting in all the hard work.”
The judges awarded Devries an 8.0 for his final wave of the day, which boosted him from third place to first over Cody Young and Shane Campbell.
“It was a really fun final. These guys were all ripping. Everybody was surfing so well all week. I’m just happy that last wave came to me at the end. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there,” Devries said.
Peter Devries, open men's shortboard National Champion
Bethany Zelasko defended her crown as the women’s shortboard National champ in a tight final against Paige Alms, Sanoa Dempfle-Olin, and Mathea Dempfle-Olin.
“Training here has been tough and I feel like it’s really paid off, all the time I’ve put in here, so I’m really stoked on that,” Zelasko told the Westerly News after the awards show.
The Californian pro surfer with a Canadian-born mother said Wickaninnish Beach is a challenging wave.
“It’s not easy. It’s not a defined peak. There are so many places to sit out there. It’s a matter of time in the water and finding out where the waves are and getting too I guess. Just being in the right place at the right time,” said Zelasko, who won the Queen of the Peak at Cox Bay in 2017.
Bethany Zelasko, open women’s shortboard National Champion
Tofino surfer Sanoa Dempfle-Olin left the beach with a rainbow of medals jiggling around her neck. The 13-year-old won gold in the girls U18, silver in the girls U16, and bronze in the women’s shortboard.
“It’s always really special to win. I’m really happy I got to push myself and compete against my sister. I love competing against her. We are always pushing each other. It feels good to get a win against her,” said Sanoa.
Californian-Canadian Wheeler Hasburgh, 13, defended his boys U18 title and Tofino’s Reed Platenius defended his boys U16 title.
“It’s so insane having all these guys here and pushing the level. It’s made me surf so much better,” said Platenius.
Wheeler said his fourth place finish in the U16 fired him up for the U18 event.
“After that U16 final, I just thought, I’m going go for it. I really tried to back up my heat and just tried to smash it again,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler Hasburgh, U18 boys National Champion
Young Hawaiian-Canadian Finn Spencer claimed gold in the SUP men’s event while Tofino’s Catherine Bruhwiler defended her SUP women’s crown.
“[The final] was really challenging. The waves were really big, it was super bumpy. I would stand up and paddle for waves and feel like I was barely holding on. But all in all the waves were actually amazing,” said the mom of competitive junior surfer Kalum Temple Bruhwiler.
Tofino's mother of surf Catherine Bruhwiler kisses rising surf star Sanoa Dempfle-Olin after winning the SUP women's national title. (Nora O'Malley / Westerly News)
In the longboard division, Tofino’s Lydia Ricard was runner up to Australian-Canadian Lucy Ruffy and Ucluelet’s own David Schiaffino cruised his way to the top of the men’s podium.
“I decided to go longboarding full-time a year ago. The last three weeks, I’ve been stuck here just surfing Wickaninnish in any condition. I think it paid the effort,” said Peruvian Schiaffino, who was awarded his Canadian permanent residency a couple years ago.
“I’m really happy to represent Canada. It would be a dream come true. I’ve surfed so many competitions and I’ve never ended first, ever. This is some accomplishment.”
"I'm number one," David Schiaffino tells his son after winning gold in the men's longboard division of the 2019 Rip Curl Nationals on May 12. (Nora O'Malley / Westerly News)