The 2022 Rip Curl Pro Nationals was one for the books.
It was Canada’s biggest surf contest in history with about 185 competitors, and for the first time since the event was launched in 2007, a lay day was called due to high winds and dangerous conditions.
Day 1 on Friday, April 8 was postponed and relocated to North Chesterman Beach on Saturday. Event organizers had a hectic couple days moving tents and equipment from one beach to another, but they were ultimately able to pull off rolling two days of competition into one by reducing heats from 20 minutes to 15 minutes and running two heats at the same time on separate banks.
“It’s been a crazy three days, ending with offshore winds and sunshine for the finals,” said Surf Canada’s executive director Dom Domic on Sunday at Cox Bay.
Nova Scotia was well represented this year, with seven youth and two adults competing. Surfers from Canada’s Great Lakes and one river surfer from Alberta also entered.
“Thank you everyone for coming, especially the East Coast crew. Please come back next time. This is a really true National event and it’s great to crown all the champions,” said Rip Curl’s VP of marketing Nick Russell at the awards ceremonies.
Tofino’s Noah Cohen nabbed his third Pro Men’s title and Mathea Dempfle-Olin defended her Pro Women’s title. Both went home with a $1000 cash prize.
“I’ve spent this whole year at home just training, working on my surfing, getting to surf new waves and surrounding myself with people I love. I’ve had a great year,” said Dempfle-Olin, who also placed third in the women’s longboard.
Cohen said he went into the contest with zero expectations.
“I think my way of having a desk job and changing gears a little bit last year, I was happy to make a heat or two and I guess the trick is to go out and have fun every night and show up really tired,” he said with a laugh after his final heat against the 2021 Pro champ Reed Platenius, Michael Darling and Wheeler Hasburgh.
Ucluelet’s Kat Rosene surfed her way to her first-ever gold medal in the Women’s Open in a tightly contested final. With only a few seconds remaining on the clock, Rosene’s final wave gave her the score she needed to take the win.
“When you’re out there, you can’t hear what’s going on. So I knew it was crunch. That was my last opportunity. I’m glad it came,” she said.
In the Men’s Open, Ucluelet Secondary School Grade 8 student Clay Chiovitti, 13, ousted a field 48 competitors to stand at the top of the podium.
“I was hoping to do well because I did pretty well last year, but there was some pretty good competition so my plan was to just have fun. I was pretty stoked on the conditions. Just a big ‘thank you’ for the people helping me out, Long Beach Surf Shop and Aftanas. I surf every day that I can,” said Chiovitti.
Tofino surfers Chloe Platenius and Shea Bruhwiler won the Under 16 division while Sanoa Dempfle-Olin and Reed Platenius claimed Under 18 titles.
“I got a few new boards right before the event, so I’ve just been trying those out and picking which one is the magic one,” said Sanoa, a new member of the Red Bull team.
In the Men’s Longboard, 21-year-old Jeffrey Spencer from Maui beat out two-time champion David Schiaffino, Asia Dryden and TJ Atwood for the win.
“It was a really fun heat. The last wave kind of wedged up out of nowhere. I paddled really hard to get into it. It was just section after section that kept coming and I was really lucky to get that one,” said Spencer.
Canada’s Women’s Longboard crown was passed on to 30-year-old Ruby Woodruff from Vancouver.
“I’ve been living in Australia for the last three years. I just came back and thought I wanted to surf a bit more. I just got really lucky. I’m happy, but all the other girls did awesome as well,” said Woodruff.