Editor’s Note: Genna Flinkman sent us this awesome recap of an amazing late season event in British Columbia.
When one thinks of Canada I am sure that they don’t immediately think of epic surf and a big SUP surf competition. However, on October 21 that is exactly what happened. Though the water is cold, the waves and the stoke are epic on the West coast of this country.
High Stoke, Low Impact
This year, the 3rd annual Tofino Paddle & Surf Championships were held once again in the little surf mecca of Canada; Tofino, British Columbia. Each year SUP athletes from all across Canada, the USA and beyond travel to compete in this amazing event. This year saw a record high with over a hundred entries divided up between Amateur and Pro men and womens SUP Surf divisions, Body Surf Expression sessions, MegaSUP Surf Races, and all ages of shortboard and longboard surf divisions. For the third year in a row, the winners of the Pro Men and Women categories not only won the right to claim themselves Canadian Surf Champions, but also earned the right to represent Canada in the 2017 ISA’s in Denmark. Hosted by Tofino Paddle Surf, this crew does an amazing job of using this event to unite the SUP surf and Surf communities and raise awareness of environmental issues. No plastic was used at this event and no trash was produced. Each athlete was presented with a tin mug that was used for drinks and soup throughout the entire event. Extras were available for “rent” for observers and recycling/composting was available all weekend to reduce the environmental impact of the event. Water was provided and there were no trash bins.
Epic Competition and Conditions
Each of the three days of competition was exciting. Friday saw 31 heats comprised of Amateur, Women’s Pro, and Men’s Pro SUP rounds as well as the repechage and quarter final heats at the beautiful beach break of North Chestermans Beach. It was an exciting day as mother nature produced some crazy conditions. From downpour rain showers, wind, sun, to massive 13 foot waves, the contestants and viewers saw it all. Luckily, all the the sponsors came prepared with tents, one with a mobile wood stove and wood for a beach fire. Regardless of the conditions, it was awesome to see each competitor come out of the water, smiles on their faces and high fives for everyone.
A More Mellow Day
Saturday brought entirely different conditions to challenge the contestants. There was still some rain but nowhere near as heavy downpours. Instead, the massive waves and rain were replaced by light wind and a mellower swell. This made for some very exciting semi final and final heats from all competing classes. Each heat was exciting to watch as the conditions changed throughout the day making each heat different. As a competitor in the event, I found all heats to be fun because of the constantly changing weather and dramatic tide changes. When I wasn’t on the water competing there was still plenty to do between cheering each other on and being inspired by the surfing going on, enjoying the warm chowder being offered by the Wolf in the Fog, the beach pong tournament, a body surf expression session, the mega surf team events and sponsor demo equipment to try.
On Sunday the surfers who watched and enjoyed the two previous days got their chance to show off their skills. Moving the event to Cox Bay allowed for some different waves best accommodated to short boarding, long boarding, and kids surf divisions.
All in all it was a fantastic event with amazing sponsors, people, food, waves, and competition. It really was a full and fun weekend with a Friday night mini surf movie festival, beers and chili and a Saturday night awards banquet with amazing food, a full awards ceremony, prizes for all and dancing in to the night. If you are looking for a fun event and want to see the beautiful coast of Canada, put this event on your calendar for next year. Just don’t forget your 5/4 wetsuit, booties, and a hood!
Thank you to the sponsors that made this event possible:
Tofino Paddle Surf, Starboard, Werner Paddles, Wolf in the Fog, Woodshed Collective, True North Paddles Co, Hoyne Brewing, Tofino Brewing, Coast Mountain Culture, Paddle Canada, Tin Wis Resort, Crystal Cove, Cascadia, Blu Wave SUP, Shoreline Surf & SUP, Kahuna SUP, Aegir SUP, Tourism Tofino, and Mieke Dusseldorf.