It was a whimsical scene of organized chaos at North Chesterman Beach on Sept. 24 as about 45 costume-clad participants in the first-ever West Coast Weird-Off surf event paddled into sweet, clean party waves.
Hosted by Tofino’s Cold Feet Club, the Weird-Off featured several unique divisions, including: longboarding, alternative surf craft, softops with costumes and anything that’s not a board. Judging criteria was based on who was having the most fun, with extra points being awarded for surfing in a sombrero.
“There is no offering in Tofino that fulfilled this kind of niche in the community,” said event organizer Rob Fiorella.
He went on to explain that the idea behind the Weird-Off was to promote surfing as a fun activity and to showcase unique surfboards for varying conditions.
“Tofino’s a growing surf scene. We’re very much in our adolescence in the evolution of our surfing here,” said Fiorella. “This event is an extension of the Cold Feet Club…It promotes the same values and ethos of our brand, which is riding the right board for the right conditions and surfing for the right reasons, surfing for fun.”
Andy Jones, Storm Surf Shop and Cold Feet Club team rider, said the Weird-Off was the most fun event Tofino has ever hosted. The twenty-year-old rising West Coast talent was notably beaming after surfing in the alternative surf craft category, having presumably snagged a left barrelling wave.
“You could say it was a chandelier. Some say it could have been a tube. I don’t know. I’ll leave it up to you,” Jones told the Westerly.
While North Chesterman’s chilly waters were undoubtedly saturated with warm-hearted Tofinians for the good times contest, Fiorella said friends from Australia, California and New York made a point of journeying North for the event.
Jones had zero contention about sharing the quality waves with visitors.
“Tofino is just an epic spot to surf. It’s really growing now with a whole bunch of different styles of surfing. I’m really stoked for the future of the surfing here,” said Jones.
Skydiving, a fishing charter, a Billabong wetsuit and loads of other awesome prizes were donated by local businesses for the event.
A six-pack of non-alcoholic beer was awarded to the “biggest NARC of the day”.
“That prize goes to someone that does something we don’t like,” said Fiorella.
The Surfrider Pacific Rim Foundation was also on set with hot chocolate, a weird facts or fiction quiz about the ocean and a traditional salmon barbeque.