Surf Canada Nationals will be held as a stand-alone event this year at Wickaninnish Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve during the first weekend of May.
For the past few years, the National titles were contested in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Tofino at Cox Bay Beach. The last competition held at Wick Beach was the Surfcam Christmas Classic Surf Contest in 2014.
PRNPR Visitor Experience Manager, Dave Tovell, said via email that Parks Canada is pleased to partner with Surf Canada and welcome surfers to the waves at Wick Beach.
“As the country’s largest tourism provider, Parks Canada is committed to providing visitors with exceptional and meaningful experiences at our places,” Tovell wrote. “The Agency is continually looking for fun, innovative ways to engage Canadians in their natural and cultural heritage.”
President of CSA Surf Canada, Dom Domic, confirmed the sporting event is open solely to Canadians.
“Any Canadian is eligible to register,” said Domic. “You have to have a valid Canadian passport or citizenship card or certificate. You can’t just be a landed resident. You actually have to be Canadian because that’s the rules of our international federation.”
Early bird registration opened on March 3. The cost to enter is $60. Categories include: shortboard, longboard, and SUP surf.Registration fees go up to $75 after April 15th, depending on if there are any spots left.
Domic said there are about 200 spots, and the event will be gender equal.
“It all really depends on how many people register. The scheduling is equal. We are trying to get people to register early so we can actually plan it.”
The competition format will follow International Surfing Association rules. Surfers will compete in a predetermined competition zone in heats of two or four. Each wave a contender catches will be rated on a 10-point scale by a panel of judges and only the best two waves are counted towards their end score. The surfers that get the highest scores move on to the next round.
For local surfers wondering if they’re ready to enter, Domic says to just go for it.
“You don’t have to go into the contest thinking you could win it. If you feel like you just want to test yourself against other surfers and see how you measure up and, basically, know what you need to do and how much better you need to go to advance in your skill set and, not just your technical ability, but also your tactical abilities as well,” he said.
The washrooms that are currently under construction between Lot C and Lot D at Wick Beach will be completed in the spring of 2018, noted Tovell.
“Parks Canada makes every effort to minimize disruptions to visitors. During construction, portable toilets are available to National Park Reserve Visitors for their use,” he said.
For more information on Surf Canada or to register visit: csasurfcanada.org.