Canada’s reigning king of cold water surf Peter Devries is heading to the tropical Sea of Japan to take on some of the world’s top surfers at the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) in Tahara from Sept. 15 to 22.
The average water temperature in the month of September near Tahara is about 26 C. Tahara, a relatively small coastal town of about 61,292, is located in the middle of Japan’s main island, Honshu.
“I’m feeling good and excited to do an event outside of Canada for the first time in a long time,” said Devries in a Surf Canada media release. “I’ve just been getting my boards dialled and having a great summer heading into the event. I feel like the biggest adjustment for me is going to be surfing in warm water without a wetsuits and boots.”
A wave breaks in Tahara, Japan. Photo courtesy of Tahara LOC.
Devries, an eight-time men’s National surf champion, will be joined by Costa Rican-Canadian Sean Foerster, Hawaiian-Canadian Cody Young, Canada’s young star talent Mathea Olin, Californian-Canadian Bethany Zelasko, and Canadian-born, Maui-based professional big wave surfer Paige Alms.
READ: Historic win for young Tofino surfer (Westerly News, Dec. 20, 2017)
READ: National surf champs crowned at Wickaninnish Beach (Westerly News, May 5, 2018)
Shannon Brown will accompany the Canuck surf team to Japan as head coach.
“This year’s team as a whole is by far the strongest team that Canada has ever sent to a world event so I’m exciting to be a part of it,” said Brown. “What is just as exciting is that we have several alternates who didn’t qualify at this year’s Surf Canada Nationals that are just as talented as the athletes who we have competing. It’s a great testament to where the level is at in Canadian surfing.”
Tofino’s Noah Cohen, who stars in the film Transition about his quest to represent Canada at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will complete Surf Canada’s men’s contingent to WSG as alternate. Local surfer Hanna Scott was selected as the alternate on the women’s side.
Devries said he’s looking forward to visiting Japan.
“It’s somewhere that I’ve only been once for a brief period of time, years ago for a contest. I’m excited to spend some more time there and see more of the country. I’m also looking forward to getting together with our team as I don’t know many of the team members very well.”
Coach Brown noted that no matter what happens, it’s an exciting time for Canadian surfing.
“I know that our team is inspiring so many Canadians, young and old, to want to become surfers and that is a wonderful thing,” he said.
Devries packs optimism on board.
“I think this is a very strong Canadian team. Everyone is competitively savvy and I feel like the whole team is versatile in different conditions that can be thrown at us over there. I’m just crossing my fingers for some fun waves that will make for an entertaining event,” said Devries.
The 2018 WSG will make history as the first edition to feature gender equality, offering equal competition slots for men and women, according to a media release on the contest website.
Anyone interested in following Team Canada on their journey is encouraged to visit www.isasurf.org where the international surf event will be broadcast live from Sept. 15 to 22. CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports will also live stream the entire wave riding contest.