Canadian Surfers Gear up for Historic Olympic Trials and Rip Curl Nationals

The 2019 Rip Curl Nationals presented by Red Bull are set for May 10-14 and this year there’s something new in the mix: the competition is also the official trials for Canadian Team Olympic qualification.

It makes sense that the mother of Canadian surf events takes place Mom’s Day weekend, and Coast Mountain Culture is proud to be supporting the historic competition.

Buoyed by Olympic dreams, an all-Canadian field hops into Vancouver Island’s extra-cold water breaks Friday, May 10 through Tuesday, May 14 for the 2019 Rip Curl Nationals presented by Red Bull — and also, Team Trials for Canadian Team Olympic qualification.

Surfers who perform well in Saturday and Sunday’s Open Shortboard category at the national event will then be invited back to the Olympic Team Trial Monday and Tuesday for a coveted and historic chance to become the first Canadians on the 2020 Olympic Games team. They’ll be competing at the Tokyo games, July 24 to August 9 next summer.

“The surfers representing Canada are going to be our absolute best,” says Surf Canada Executive Director Dom Domic.

The Nationals take place on legendary Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Above: Mathea Olin. Top: Noah Cohen. Both photos by Marcus Paladino.

”I think it’s amazing to have an all-Canadian event to decide our National Champions,” stated reigning national champion Pete Devries. “In the past our Canadian champions have had to battle through rounds at an international event which can skew the results for some competitors,” added Devries. “This event is much more fair to decide a national champion….Having it at Wickaninnish Beach will really level the playing field and add a new twist to the works.”

The event is for Canadians only and will determine National Champions in ten divisions including Junior Shortboard U-18 and U-16, Longboard, and SUP Surf. The Nationals will also showcase Canada’s best Adaptive Surfers.

Pete Devries photographed by Marcus Paladino.

There’ll be spots on the national team for three female and three males.

Front runners include current Canadian women’s champ Bethany Zelasko, sisters Mathea and Sanoa Olin, Hanna Scott and two-time WSL Big Wave Champion Paige Alms. And on the men’s side watch for Devries, Cody Young, Sean Foerster, Kalum Temple, Michael Darling and Noah Cohen, who’s recovering from an ankle sprain but expected to make the comp.

Coast Mountain Culture has been a sponsor of the National event for the past seven years.

“We’ve been real proud to be a part of the event for this long, even more so now, with the Olympics upcoming,” says CMC editor Mike Berard. “The Tofino/Ucluelet cold water surf scene is distinctly Canadian,” Berard adds, noting there’s a story on Vancouver Island’s female surf culture, in the summer issue of Coast Mountain Culture, which hits shelves in the middle of May, all across BC’s coast and the US Pacific Northwest.

Tofino-based photographer Marcus Paladino will be the official photographer of the event and you can see his work in our recent feature about his 2019 Showdown Slideshow.

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