Tonfino Swells Bring New National SUP Surf Champions

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“There were aerials and barrels, massive sprays and huge turns all day long,” said Catherine Bruhwile, coordinator of this year’s Tofino Paddle & Surf Championships. “It was epic.” The Tofino Paddle & Surf Championships took place in the Tofino district on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada on October 21st – 23rd, 2016. More competitors took to the water than ever, with 79 in the SUP contest held on Friday and Saturday and 32 in the surf contest on Sunday.

But the surprise here is not in the amount of people, but the ages of the new national champions.

“Bruwhiler”]All the finals were really tight with less than a point separating first and second in some cases

The men’s Pro final included two groms, 13-year-old Finn Spencer and his 15-year-old brother, Jeffrey. They put on a show for the judges and spectators lining the beach with hard cut backs, railing bottom turns and sheets of water spraying off the lip. When the buzzer sounded no one was sure who had won, beyond someone with the last name Spencer. For the first time, the contest awarded prize money to the top competitor and with results this close no one knew for sure who that was until the awards ceremony that night. In the end, young Finn beat out his older brother and claimed the $200 paycheck for the day. In the women’s division, Genna Flinkman took the victory, the $200 in prize money and membership on the 2017 Canadian SUP Team.

When it was time to clean up Bruhwiler was impressed with the result of the event’s waste free initiative, which included giving all competitors a mug at registration that they used for soup, chili, beer and drinks throughout the weekend, recycling and compost but no garbage cans on the beach, waste education and more.

“Bruwhiler.”]My proudest moment of the contest was cleaning up after the awards banquet and realizing there was not one piece of trash, the event raised money for Clayoquot Action, a local environment charity.

Tofino Paddlesurf Official Results

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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.