Australian Josh Kerr knocked off local favourite and defending contest champion Pete Derives Thursday morning en route to capturing first place at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic (CWC) Canada in Tofino, B.C.
In clean four-foot conditions at Chesterman Beach, Kerr, 26, defeated American Eric Geiselman in the final of the 6-star ASP event. For his efforts, Kerr pocketed $20,000 and earned 3,000 points in the CWC series.
“It was a bit of a slow final,” said Kerr, following what was his fourth heat of the day. “Youʼre blood is pumping a lot harder to keep you warm. It takes it out of you. But we are surfing in Canada – itʼs a beautiful place. Youʼre in the mountains but by the beach. Itʼs a trip. I am stoked!”
One high point in the contest for Devries was a Round 3 victory over Australian Stu Kennedy, who currently sits in second in the CWC series.
“Iʼm disappointed, but still happy I made it through a few heats,” said Devries, who recently won the September Storm Classic at Lawrencetown Beach. “I was hoping to make it to the quarters. That was one of those little goals I had in my own mind. But losing against Josh – thereʼs nothing wrong with that!”
Kerr wasnʼt entirely convinced the local community would agree.
“I was all apologizing to everyone when I came out. I think I should keep a low profile in town this evening,” he said.
A total of 11 Canadians participated in the event. Devries was the top Canuck, having reached Round 4. The next best Canadian was Sepp Bruhwiler, who was knocked out in Round 3.
Despite the absence of their local hero, much of Tofino shut up shop and hit the beach for the final on what was a cold but sunny day.
The OʼNeill Cold Water Classic Series now moves to its final event of the year in Santa Cruz, California on October 18 in what is lining up to be a dramatic finale.
With Shaun Cansdell having reached the semis in Tofino, he now sits atop the rankings ahead of Stuart Kennedy, Royden Bryson, Dion Atikinson and Glenn Hall.
Current Points Standing Following the CWC Canada:
1. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 5591
2. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 5378
3. Royden Bryson (ZAF) 4844
4. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 3984
5. Glenn Hall (IRE) 3110
Watch highlights from the OʼNeill Cold Water Classic Canada at O’Neill.com