“I love how different surfing is all the time. You’re dealing with the ocean, and its ever-changing variables. It’s never the same day to day, or even hour to hour. It’s something that never feels stagnant. That’s what makes it so challenging—why it’s so difficult, but also so exciting.”
By most measures, Pete Devries is the best surfer in Canada. He’s been the country’s national champion nine times in a row, and is expected to be on our first Olympic surfing team. He’s been on the cover of Surfer magazine, and is considered a mentor by many of his community’s up-and-comers.
For Pete, the path to surfing was a natural one—in fact, it was right outside his front door. He grew up on Chesterman Beach; his dad was one of Tofino’s first surfers. At around seven, Pete followed in his father’s footsteps, eventually going on to compete in—and win—major surf competitions.
Like the 2009 O’Neill Cold Water Classic. As a Tofino local, Pete was given a wild card entry for the competition, his first in a while. He didn’t feel the same pressure as the internationally ranked ASP surfers he was competing against; he just wanted to have fun. So he did. And he ended up winning the whole thing.
In doing so, he became the first Canadian to win an international surf competition—and a bit of a local legend. When word got out that Pete had made the semi-finals of the Cold Water Classic, the town of Tofino effectively emptied out onto the beach. A local had never made it to the semis before, let alone won the competition. Pete counts this among his proudest accomplishments as a surfer.
The board you see here is from another of Pete’s hometown victories—the 2012 Rip Curl Stew, which took place here right here in Cox Bay.
These days, Pete doesn’t compete much—but he still surfs most days, often with his family, simply because he loves it. He suggests that anyone getting started with surfing do the same. “Do it for the right reasons. Do it because you love it. That’s what’s going to make it fun, and interesting, and what will get you through those tough first days.”