2019 Rip Curl Nationals

Words by Kyler Vos

Just over two years ago, the sport of surfing was inducted into the Olympic games. With its inaugural showing set for Tokyo 2020, twenty males and twenty females will be representing their country at the games, 18 of which being automatically qualified through the World Championship Tour and an added two from the host nation of Japan. Thus, leaving 20 spots for athletes from countries such as our own to represent their flag on the world stage.
Since the Olympic announcement, Canadian surfing has changed dramatically, going from a mostly free-surfing focused nation housing only a handful of annual events into a competitive force. With intensified training, coaching, and increased experience in many Pro Junior and Qualifying Series events around the globe, athletes such as the Olin sisters, the Porter sisters, Hannah Scott, Kalum Bruhwiler and Reed Platenius to name a few, have been on a mission over the past year, competing around the world in preparation for the nationals and will no doubt be on centre stage in the years to come.


The 2019 Rip Curl Nationals and Team Selections was held at Wickaninnish Beach in the Pacific Rim national park, and could arguably have been the most important Canadian surf competition to date. Many Canadians residing abroad, like Big Wave World Champion Paige Alms, WQS warriors Cody Young and Shane Campbell, as well as Nova Scotia’s Logan Landry travelled to Tofino in hopes of securing a chance to represent the True North Strong and Free at the Olympic games.
The weekend was graced with great weather, and decent swell coupled with mostly favourable winds, giving competitors and beachgoers alike everything they needed for an ideal weekend.

Away from the beach on Friday night, Rip Curl continued their support for those behind the lens, with a Photography night at Tofino Marina’s Hatch Pub. Focused on “The Surf photo of the year,” Ten Photographers displayed their work for both the Corona people’s choice and professionally judged Pro categories. After all the votes were tallied, Cristina Gareau took home the people’s choice award, and Liam MacDonald captured the Canadian photo of the year!

Liam MacDonald – Surf Photo of the Year
Cristina Gareau – Corona People’s Choice.

Back at the beach, there was stiff competition in every division. In the Women’s Categories, the top of the podium was shared five ways with Mathea Olin taking gold in U16, Sanoa Olin in U18, Lucy Ruffy in Longboard, Bethany Zelasko in Open Women’s, and Paige Alms taking the title for the Team Selection. In the Men’s divison there were no easy heats, with local favourites such as Noah Cohen, Kalum Temple, and Micheal Darling missing out on the podium in both nationals and team selection. As per usual Peter Devries, the king of the North, came out atop of the Nationals podium with a clutch air reverse in the dying seconds of the finals to overtake Shane Campbell, who bounced back the following day to lead the Canadians to the Olympics in the Team selection.

Photo: Miguel Rodriguez/Surf Canada
Photo: Liam MacDonold
Photo: Miguel Rodriguez/Surf Canada

On Sunday Night, after the Nationals was wrapped up, Shelter restaurant hosted Nate Laverty, director of The Transition Film to premiere “Owaka Shakas”, a short from his recent foray to New Zealand with Peter Devries, Noah Cohen, and Dane Gudauskas. And as always, the place was packed with, many pints were put back, and delicious food accompanied lively conversation.

Overall, there were too many standouts to mention, as all the groms and professionals surfed their hearts out, showing that Canada will be a force to be reckoned with in future Olympic games. A massive shout out to everyone at CSA, Rip Curl, and Red Bull for supporting the sport of surfing in Canada and making such a fantastic weekend and event possible.

Open Men Final
  1. Peter Devries (14.5)
  2. Shane Campbell (13.13)
  3. Cody Thomas (12.26)
  4. Sean Foerster (12.1)
Open Women Final
  1. Bethany Zelasko (12.47)
  2. Paige Alms (11.07)
  3. Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (10.93)
  4. Mathea Dempfle-Olin (10.03)
Boys U-18
  1. Wheeler Hasburgh (11.9)
  2. Reed Platenius (10.54)
  3. Jeffrey Spencer (9.97)
  4. Boston Leier (8.17)
Girls U-18
  1. Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (10.74)
  2. Mathea Dempfle-Olin (8.8)
  3. Jasmine Porter (7.6)
  4. Aqua Bruhwiler (5.9)
Men’s Longboard
  1. David Schiaffino (12.6)
  2. TJ Atwood (10.96)
  3. Asia Dryden
  4. Adam Tory
Women’s Longboard 
  1. Lucy Ruffy (9.17)
  2. Lydia Ricard (7.54)
  3. Amy Sousa (5.37)
  4. Emily Ballard
The 2019 Rip Curl Nationals presented by Red Bull are proudly hosted by Parks Canada, Tla-o-qui-aht, Yuulu?it?ath First Nations, and supported by our Community Partners, Tourism Ucluelet, Tourism Tofino, Government of Canada, the Province of B.C., our Event Partners Mill Bay Marine Group, Corona, Flor de Caña, Island Savings, Surfrider Foundation, Lifesaving Society, Cascadia, HydroFlask, Aftanas, Clif Bar, Telus, FCS, Gorilla, SexWax, Headhunter, X-treme Organics, Stact, Ucluelet Rent-It Centre, Blue Room Café, and our Media Partners, CBC Sports, Coast Mountain Culture and SBC Surf.
Surf Canada is the official National Sporting Federation (NGF) and sport partner of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA) who in turn is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) governing federation. As such, Surf Canada is solely responsible for selecting Surf, Adaptive, Stand-Up Paddle, and Prone Paddle athletes to compete at international events including the yearly ISA World Championships, PASA PanAm Surf Championships and every four years the PanAmerican Games and the Summer Olympics Games.