Canadians are more ambitious than ever at this year’s Rip Curl Pro Tofino

For those who know Tofino as a calm and quiet place, a change in pace is coming over the next three days.  At the moment, surfers, of all divisions, male, female, groms, short boarders and long boarders, are putting on their wetsuits to qualify for Rip Curl Pro Tofino, which is being held from May 12th through the 14th, at Cox Bay Beach. 150 participants will fight to win the Canadian Surf Association‘s (CSA) National Championship title in their respective divisions. Although, the line up will have pro surfers from Canada’s East and West coast such as Nico Manos, Logan Landry, Peter Devries, Noah Cohen, Hanna Scott and Matea Olin, there will also be a strong contingent from the USA, most notably from the California area.

Photos by Eric Eichberger

Photo: Eric Eichberger

Both talent and tension run high, especially for Peter Devries and Noah Cohen, both natives of Tofino, who hope to bring the title of Rip Curl Pro Champ back to their home turf. The last  two year we’ve seen California competitors crowned.
“The competitor list is the strongest we have ever seen and we’re excited that Canada’s premiere event is increasingly attracting elite surfers from around the world.”  – Nick Russell, Rip Curl Pro Event Director and Rip Curl Canada VP.

A competition that strengthens the Canadian surf culture

For its co-founder, Dom Domic, also CSA’s president and the competition director, the idea was first created to provide an opportunity for local surfers to be highlighted both at the national and international level.  “Back in the day, 1988, we decided we wanted to bring competitions to Canada like the ones we would see in the US on tv.”
Every year, for the last 11 years, CSA, in partnership with Rip Curl Canada, hosted this competition in Tofino. Today, this event is one of the most important in our annual program as it is a chance for surfers to qualify for the ISA World Surfing Games, which will be hosted in Biarritz, France, at the end of this month, but as well, it offers an opportunity for those surfers preparing for the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July 2020.  “We may not have the same quality of surf that Australia, the US, Brazil or even France have, but we do have a world class caliber of surfer on Vancouver Island, declare Domic.”

Photo: Eric Eichberger | Surfer: Noah Cohen

In addition to supporting many athletes as they pursue their dreams, the Rip Curl Pro Tofino is an important part of the surf culture in Canada.  Locally, the Tofino area benefits also at an economic level as new business and services have evolved as a result of demand created each year by the event and the growing surf culture that lingers afterwards.  “I’ve watched this town evolve over the years, and it’s safe to say that Tofino is now known as a surf town.” Dom Domic.
With the arrival of surf, recently announced as an olympic sport, Dom Domic views the Rip Curl Pro Tofino as an important opportunity for Canadian athletes to compete and shine.  “Canadian surfers are training more and more.  In addition to that, we are seeing more and more training programs for athletes, surf schools, mentoring programs and well as more events for groms, women and adaptive surfers.”

A new place for adaptive surfing at Rip Curl Pro Tofino

One of OuiSurf’s contributors, also a kinesiologist, Pascale Martineau cofounded the Canadian Adaptive Surfing Committee with Vancouver surfer Gerry Burns, a lover of life, who has been in a wheelchair as a result of a hockey accident.  Together, with the support of the CSA, they are working towards developing a program for adaptive surfing nation wide.

In her article, “Canada rides its first ‘adapted wave”, Pascale highlighted her desire to see the Canadian team participate competitively at the national and international level. It appears as though Rip Curl Pro has responded intuitively to the movement as they’ve introduced an Expression Session for adaptive surfers this year.  “We think this will be a great way to introduce the adaptive surfing to the community and the event.” confirmed Cassandra Ratcliffe, Marketing Coordinator for Rip Curl Canada.”

The Rip Curl Pro Tofino is going to continue to gather the Canadian surf community, as well as support the athletes.  The new generation of Canadian surfers are more ambitious than ever to break through into the international surfing scene. As a result, we can count on them to represent us fiercely at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.  Until then, follow them closely at:

Instagram: @Ripcurl_Canada,  #RipCurlProTofino
Facebook : @RipCurlCanada, @CanadianSurfingAssociation

The Rip Curl Pro Tofino is presented by Monster Energy in association with Telus, Coors Banquet, Spy Optics, Flor de Cana, Evan Williams Bourbon, Canadian Surfing Association, Surfline, SBC Surf, Coast Mountain Culture, Aftnas Surfboards & Tourism Tofino.

Overview of last year event