Gusty onshore winds might have made Chesterman Beach more apt for kiteboarding last weekend, but the show still went on and man, oh, man did the contestants ever perform.
Spectators at the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational were treated to a live action-reel of surfing that included nose riding, fin first takeoffs, ultra smooth footwork and party waves galore.
“Whether the waves are there or not, the beautiful thing about a longboard is it’s built to ride [bad] waves,” said world champion longboarder and contest founder Joel Tudor. “You don’t have much room to complain.”
Originally, Tudor was hoping to hold the Duct Tape on the East Coast of Canada.
“We were trying for Nova Scotia, but we had some crazy run-ins with the locals,” he said.
“They were threatening us and all sorts of stuff. People are very selfish. For some reason they think they own the ocean. They were saying that we were going to bring a big plastic conglomerate surfboard contest to town and expose all the waves and leave trash, but as you can see, we’re a tent.”
After feeling an unwelcoming vibe from Nova Scotian waters, Vans Canada reached out to Tudor with the Tofino option.
“The board of tourism welcomed us. I haven’t had one negative email. I’ve actually had nothing but positive,” Tudor said.
“You guys are famous for being friendly. I’ve had a really great reception. Everyone’s been really nice.”
Tudor, who has been a Vans sponsored surfer for the last 20 years, launched the Duct Tape Invitational with the intent of sharing longboarding surf culture and style with the world.
“My career is still going, but you have to eventually pass the torch to the next generation,” he said.
“Vans understands the importance of heritage. If you don’t have a story, it’s hard to sell your brand.”
The West Coast’s local wildcard pick Asia Dryden received the V.I.P. treatment throughout the contest, which included free skateboards and hoodies from the title sponsor.
“Everyone’s been super stoked and giving me lots of love,” said Dryden.
The Invitational’s defending champion Justin Quintal turned in a three-peat by claiming the competition’s top cash prize of $8,000.
“That’s going to cover half the trip here then probably I’ll take my girlfriend on a trip,” Quintal said.
The Jacksonville, Florida, native said he thoroughly enjoyed his days on the Vancouver Island.
In true surfer style, he cruised around the South Island in an RV before making his way north to Tofino for the contest.
“It’s awesome. It’s literally one of the coolest places I’ve been. Hanging out here and meeting the community has really been the best part,” said Quintal.
“Thanks for the hospitality. No bad vibes at all.”
Now that they’ve came, saw, and surfed, will the Duct Tape ever return?
“Maybe one day we’ll come back,” Tudor said.
“I’m sure Nova Scotia is still within our scope. We’re not really big on people telling us we can’t go to places. If we do another Canada event, it will probably be on that side.”