i did my first surf comp while blind

Last weekend i did my first surf only contest, The rip curl stew in tofino. The few i've done are in surf/snow and skate comps, and have a slightly different format.
And i had to do it without really being able to see. well, chose to do it that way i guess.

Since there was a decent swell in the forecast i'd planned to head over to the island for some waves, check the comp and support the canadian surf scene. Then as time got closer decided to do the comp for shits and giggles (thanks rip curl for letting me in). However, just days before leaving i got a call from Lasik MD saying my appointment for getting my eyes lasered was a week away and i shouldn't wear contacts. I've had glasses for over 20 years, and been mostly in contacts for the past 15 years, so i started to change my plans to bail on the island since i didn't really like the prospect of blind surfing. Then my girlfriend kimmie talked me into (real rubber arm over here) trying to surf with my old glasses and rainx on the lenses. Sure, that's a great idea. however, it didn't work. five minutes into my first session the glasses fogged up and i was hating them. So i ripped them off and tried surfing without being able to see. Better than the glasses, but uhh where's that wave?? But once i caught the wave i was ok with the eyes, just a little more reaction as opposed to planning.

With my limited vision i decided to still do the comp. I figured if i got waves i might do ok (make it out of a heat or 2; i had no delusions on winning). This is where surf contests get interesting, will you get the waves? I couldn't imagine my career waiting for a "right" halfpipe to show up so i could do my tricks. It's kinda stressful in a way.

The contest was being held in world famous cox bay. well, maybe just tofino famous.

(i think there's might be a clean wave out there somewhere)

It's a great location to run a surf comp, hotels on the beach, short access, and always waves, just not necessarily the best wave around. Lots of duckdiving and waves that push through and don't break. It's a far cry from the reefs and point breaks that i usually surf. But, there were some good waves coming through, just had to find them. I found 1 ok wave in my 20 minute heat. I jumped off that wave, got stuck in a bad current and proceeded to spend the rest of my heat duckdiving. Not surpising, i didn't advance out of the 4 man heat (got 3rd). I had a blast in the comp as it's calls for a different head space then snowboarding, and it's interesting to see my own surfing on a time limit.

The scene on the beach was awesome. Miniramp on the beach, tunes, girls, and good friends kicking around. I pretty sure the whole town of tofino stopped by at one point or another. A bunch of whistler folk were on site, even 2000 US open halfpipe champ guillaume morrisette was strolling the beach.

The rest of the contest, the local boys went off! Showing his world class skills, pete devries won the comp (check his insane recent footy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZuPuxAIuig), followed by the bruhwiler borthers, sepp and raph, and in fourth was ben murphy.

It was really cool watching these guys (and some of the other local super shreds) going off in their home break.

Unfortunately, i missed the finals as the waves were going off on another beach nearby and i was in the water for 9 hours. Had to get my fill before my eye surgery the following day.

Thanks rip curl for the good times at the comp, and marc and andrea at the surf social in ucluelet for the place to stay and the good times too! hopefully i'll be back next year to check it out again.


(great setup for the Stew)


(spy's daryl trinidad and myself catch-ing up. I'm always happy to run into my longtime friend)

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