About 160 surfers will take on the waves at Cox Bay this weekend to contend in the 2021 Rip Curl Canada Pro Nationals.
National titles will be awarded in five divisions for both males and females: Pro, Open, Longboard, U18 and U16. There is a $8000 prize purse for the Pro division, which will be distributed equally for both men and women ($2000 for the winner, $1000 for the runner-up, $600 for third and $400 for fourth.)
Surf Canada president Dom Domic said there was a much larger surge of registrants on the male side.
“Since there is a finite amount of heats that can be run over the three days, we have kept the divisions fluid as per demand. In other words, we did not set a quota. The number of heats per gender, per division, was self-determined by the registrants,” said Domic.
In the Open Women’s division there are 12 spots for athletes whereas in the Open Men’s there are 40. In the Women’s Longboard division there are 16 spots for athletes and in the Men’s Longboard there are 32.
“The registration skewed towards male participation as those were the ones that registered the most, and there is a substantial waitlist for the Open Men’s and Longboard divisions,” he said.
“Surf Canada is very stoked that women are supporting this event with active participation rates increasing year over year. We truly look forward to the day that equal number of both genders register for all surf competitions,” he went on to note.
Tofino surfer and Ucluelet Secondary School student Reed Platenius said when it comes to the longboarding, females rule the waves in Tofino, and was surprised to hear there weren’t more entrants.
In 2018, Platenius won the Rip Curl Pro Open Men’s division when he was 14. He will be competing as a Pro this weekend as well as an U16 and U18.
“I want to be with the best. It’s been a while since there was a contest so I’m excited to show Canada and the town what I’ve been working on for the last two years,” said the goofy-footed surfer.
“I hope the waves are good. My goal is to beat Pete Devries in the Pro,” said Platenius, adding that he lost to Devries by a small margin in the invite only 2020 Hometown Showdown surf contest at North Chesterman in November.
For the past couple years, Surf Nationals was hosted by the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at Wickaninnish Beach.
“This surfing competition has always been warmly received by both Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and Yuulu?it?ath First Nations. Surf Canada will continue to work towards even more meaningful engagement and activate programming in a safe and appropriate manner that is community driven,” Domic wrote in an email.
“We are all collectively in full support of recognizing and commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which is now an official statutory holiday on Sept 30 from this day forth. Canada’s tragic history and ongoing legacy of the residential schools can never forgotten, and never should, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” and Surf Canada is committed to ensuring that this competition is a true community event, where everyone is welcome to reflect and participate appropriately,” said Domic.
While Surf Nationals does not fall within the generally accepted definition of ‘sporting event’, Domic ensured that a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan and protocols was approved by all necessary levels of government.
“In addition, mitigation strategies include having over 90 per cent participation from the local communities, as well as fulfilling essential staff roles with local, or island based personnel,” he said.
The 2021 Surf Nationals is an unticketed, unseated, outdoor competition that will take place from Sept. 24 to 26 on the southern end of Cox Bay.