Mother Nature was in a playful mood on Sept. 17, bringing bursts of rain, breaks of sunshine and a super high tide to North Chesterman’s Beach for the third annual Bruhwiler Kids Surf Classic. As the extra-high tide came up around 12:38 p.m., event tents had to be shifted up the beach to avoid getting swept away.
Hosted by Tofino’s Bruhwiler family, the kids’ contest saw 75 plus entrants from all over Vancouver Island enjoy friendly waves, beach games, barbecue and loads of prize giveaways.
“You get to meet friends and make friends and you get to surf,” said 11-year-old Orion LeFevre from Ucluelet.
Orion was joined by his younger brother Koen who competed in the under-10 division and his little sister Savannah who competed in the girls’ expression session. Their dad, Jason LeFevre, said the Surf Classic is a great way to expose West Coast kids to competition in a worry-free way.
“It’s such a fun event. It teaches them just to enjoy being at the beach,” said Jason.
“Orion did great this year. He’s more comfortable just being here and meeting the kids…It’s a great mix between the Ucluelet and the Tofino kids. They get to know each other, especially for the Ucluelet kids that don’t have beaches as close by and can’t get out as much.”
Surf dad Rob Blackburn from Nanaimo makes monthly trips cross-Island with his family to camp and surf. He registered his two children, Connor and Eva, in the Bruhwiler Kids Surf Classic mainly so they could spend a day at the beach with other kids, and not just dad and mom.
“It’s great to give kids the opportunity to surf and see how other kids surf,” he said. “We love it here. I’ve been coming here for years. Connor was first on the board when he was five. Eva has been boogie boarding for about a year. ”
The kids competition was run using a classic heat and judging panel format. Surfers were awarded scores based on how long they stood up on a wave and any maneuvers they could execute. Parents are allowed to be in the water with their children for water safety, but not to assist them. Divisions included under-10 boys/girls, under-14 boys/girls, under-18 boys/girls and an open expression session for the really little ones.
Each participant received chocolate medallions and the top six contenders in each division went home with trophies and jam-packed goodie bags.
The Bruhwiler Kids Surf Classic is an annual event held every September. Registration is free and equipment is provided to kids that don’t have their own.
Those dark winter days might be on the horizon, but with spritely neoprene clad kids storming local beaches by the van full, the future of Canadian surfing looks incredibly bright.