Twelve new Canadian National champions were crowned on Sunday, May 14 at the 11th Annual Rip Curl Pro Tofino presented by Monster Energy.
Cox Bay provided glorious sunshine and a decent swell throughout the three-day event, which welcomed over 150 surfers from Canada and various coastal scenes south of the border.
Much-loved local favourite Peter Devries reclaimed his place at the top of the pro men’s podium by knocking out Californian hot shots Kevin Schulz in the semis and Pat Curren in the final.
The Mother’s Day victory marks the seventh career Rip Curl Pro title for Devries.
“Congratulations to all the competitors, especially the younger kids this week,” Devries said at the awards’ ceremony.
“ I saw you step up your game and everyone is surfing really, really well.”
“For me personally, it’s been a challenging time for my family and I. I’ve been dealing with a bit of injury so I really didn’t have much expectations coming into this event so to get the win was surprising and extra special. This one means a lot to me,” he said.
On the women’s side, the Olin sisters dominated the waves, claiming titles in the under-12, under-16, longboard and pro women’s categories.Mathea Olin took down the under-16 and longboard divisions, while her younger sister Sanoa grabbed the under-12 National title and a historical win in the women’s pro.
At 11-years-old, Sanoa became the youngest professional division winner in the 11-year history of the event.
“I had no idea what was going on. It was so windy out there that you can’t really hear what [the judges] are saying. So I didn’t know. I heard something about an eight. I thought I was in fourth. And then when I came in my mom was like you won,” Sanoa told the Westerly News after the final.
She said it was also the first time she has ever beaten her older sister in competition.
Mathea, 13, was noticeably disappointed with her own performance in the pro final, but expressed support for her sister.
“She did amazing. She’s always been behind my heels since I was very young,” Mathea said.
“I’m just so happy for her.”
In the 50+ Legends category, Ucluelet local Douglas Ludwig claimed the top spot by defeating three-time world surfing champion Tom Curren.
“It’s pretty cool because I grew up in California as well and I’ve kind of looked up to Tom for a while. He’s from Santa Barbara.
His dad was a really famous surfer as well as a shaper,” said Ludwig, who recently passed his Canadian citizenship test meaning he can officially claim the National title of the Legends division.
Ludwig said his strategy for the heat was to sit outside the back to catch some bigger set waves.
Young Tofitian surfer Reed Platenius posted a noteworthy performance over the weekend, earning the men’s open National title and a second place finish in the under-16.
Platenius’ training cohort Fred Sanford took home the under-16 title.
Once again, Sean Foerster journeyed up from Costa Rica and repeated his under-18 victory from 2016.
Foerster will represent Team Canada alongside nine other delegates at the ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France this May 20-28.