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Bearing Down

Day 5 of O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada

| posted on July 22, 2010

Cory Lopez and Peter Devries Shine in Day Five of O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada

It’s been raining for 36 hours straight and nothing in Tofino seems to stay dry. Towels are permanently moist, wetsuits grow frost if left outside, and moss seems to cover any and all forms of vegetation. It’s a reminder that regardless of how plush the accommodations are (the duck confit pizza in the lounge at the Long Beach Lodge is nothing short of superb) for the surfers and media attending the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada, the elements are always only a few steps away over here. Take, for instance, the bears.

Giant man-eating—okay, maybe they eat a bit more salmon than man—black bears are known to infest these parts, giving surfers knocked out of the comp quite the sideshow. The talk of the event, win not centered around Peter Devries, has been dominated by these furry beasts and seeing which clique of surfers has been able to get the closest without being attacked. (Thus far, from what I’ve overheard, the Aussies are in the lead.) Surprised? Yeah, me neither.

“They’re pretty fricken’ nuts,” said Hawaii surfer and bear connoisseur Seabass Zietz. “The other day me and a few of the boys went down to this salmon hatchery cause we heard there would be a bunch there and, yeah, they were there…a whole bunch of them. Bears. Just mopping salmon with their hands. It was pretty intense.”

But enough about the bears. Stellar surf continued to flow through lineup at Cox Bay today, and although not quite as froth-worthy as yesterday, the boys remaining in the comp continued to entertain.

Of those that induced whistles and hollers from the crowd, Cory Lopez, who apparently does not age, proved to be the ringer. In his heat today against Hawaiian T.J. Barron and Spanish surfer Gony Zubizarreta, Lopez punted a nosebleed of a backside air to the tune of a 9.5 with one judge throwing down a 10.

“Yeah, it kind of reminds me of a really good day at Salt Creek…how it comes from the deep water outside and stands up on the inside and you can just crack it,” said Lopez about the venue at Cox Bay. When asked about his take on Canada, Lopez said it felt more akin to a snowboard trip than a surf trip.

And then there was Peter Devries, the local boy who just can’t seem to lose. As was referenced in a previous post, when Devries puts on a jersey the crowd at the water’s edge seems to quadruple in size. Like a band of apparitions, the crowd appears out of thin air when he surfs. And today, with Pete taking on the likes of Glenn Hall and Brian Toth, he didn’t disappoint.

Although not surfing with the same degree of dominance that he had shown in previous heats, Pete pulled through his round of 24 match up with a second and, once again, was flooded with media and fans when he made his way up the beach. “F—king Tofino! F—ing Peter Devries. Whooooo!” hysterically howled a zealous fan.

“It’s a little strange, yes, having all the attention. But I can tell you one thing, I definitely wouldn’t want to be Kelly Slater,” said Devries after his heat. Tomorrow, Devries will be paired against Frenchman Joan Duru in their round of 16 heat.

The weather is forecasted to get squirrelly in the not-too-distant future with an increase in swell and wind. Stay hooked to Surfermag.com as we bring you more bear—and surfing—action from the coldest competition on the planet, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada.