WORDS AND PHOTOS BY ERIN HOGUE
IN WATER PHOTOS BY BRYANNA BRADLEY
It is the long time goal of all board-obsessed individuals to complete the trifecta of standing sideways in as short amount of time as possible. Marie-France Roy’s Triple Plank Challenge is one of the only contests in the world that allows participants to battle on all three boards in less than 48 hours: snow, surf and skate.
Vancouver Island is one of the few places on the planet that allows for this type of event. Mount Washington sits at a mere 3 hours from Canada’s most renowned surf destination Tofino BC and so, last weekend, the ultimate trifecta event went down. The main goals of the event being, to have the best freaking time ever, walk away with some serious swag and of course raise some money for a sweet cause , being as this event is in support of the Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS).
The weekend kicked off in the remote surf town of Ucluelet, BC, where participants joined forces to plant cedar and spruce trees at Twin River. CWFS’s objectives are to restore local fish habitat and ultimately rectify salmon populations from post logging destruction and other human impact. 50 participants made it out to plant 300 trees in less than an hour…talk about efficiency and the competition hadn’t even started yet.
The next morning was greeted with some classic Tofino weather, grey skies and sporadic rain…but totally fine for surfing beautiful Cox Bay, which welcomed the surfers with small glassy waves all day.
5 mil wetsuits with booties and hoods was the norm for some sweet spring surfing in Canada. Over 70 surfers in heats of 5 paddled out into the 2ft swell to bust out their best moves. The waves may have been small but the stoke was at an all time high. Craig Grandfield took home third by gracefully cross stepping his way to the nose of his board and back for almost 20 minutes straight…pretty sure it was his endurance, stamina and style that won over the judges. Ryan Taron came in second on his longboard with an outstanding wave that started with a clean shove it, into a floater that finished off with a good old coffin.
Doug Boulton stole first place though by throwing down sick hacks and launching radical airs on his shortboard in almost non-existent waves…spectators remain perplexed on how he pulled this off but it was a well deserved win.
As for the ladies, Allison Allen’s classic California style stole the hearts of the crowd and third place. She even managed to finish her heat with an unsuspecting coffin ride. Christine Biegler placed 2nd just a couple points behind 1st place’s Kim Mullen who apparently possesses all the style during impressively long flowy rides.
Robin Van Gyn paddling out
Rusty Ockenden dropping in.
Marie-France Roy getting that bottom turn locked in
Luckily, the clouds cleared by the afternoon and the pavement dried so everyone made their way to the Tofino skate park. The contest kicked off with the groms where the only requirement to participate was being able to stand or at least almost stand, on a board with wheels; shout out to Nick Haish for helping his 13 month old son tear up the park while barely holding daddy’s hand! Marie-Andree Racine’s 2 year old boy Jackson was sending it at high speed into the bowl with fierce focus in his eyes. Jonas Gaces was doing legit skate tricks the whole jam and earned himself the Ultimate Shredder award and a brand new Arbor Snowboard from being the only grom who entered and absolutely killed it at all three snow skate and surf events.
Next the ladies were up, in a jam style format. Marie-Andree Racine came in 3rd, shredding the park only one month after giving birth to her second kid, radmom.com. Melanie Mercier took 2nd and Jessy Poirier came out of nowhere to steal first place on a borrowed board and having not skated for over two years. She absolutely killed it for the babes with some serious rock to fakies and tail stalls in the deeper end of the bowl.
The boys were up next. Jon Versteeg grabbed 3rd by going coming into every single one of his lines at max speed and sending it to the moon. Kevin Cyr came in second with solid tricks and flow just behind local ripper Jeremy Randall who completely slayed the park. Randall threw down the longest, steeziest grinds in between massive and solid airs.
Saturday morning everyone made their way to Mount Washington in search of snow and sunshine. Tank tops, Hawaiian shirts and straw hats were in high demand. The resort was closed for the season so a quick 10-minute hike got you to the base of the course and the heart of the party.
Good-times trumped technicalities at this event and so, it was fitting that the banked slalom course consisted of rider’s choice between a catapulting log jib or high speed whoops of death. Official race gates were replaced with wooden sticks, times were calculated on Iphones and the finish line provided a show off’s dream; a savage kicker steps away from the overly vocal crowd.
Joannie Robichaud’s solid riding earned her 3rd place for the women with a time of 42.36. Pro Snowboarder Robin VanGyn’s aggressive backflip and speed earned her a close second behind banked slalom queen Sara Niblock. Niblock who delivered once again with a steezy method off the log jib and a faster time than most guys at 38.10 seconds.
“Smooth Operator” Andrew Wood was the crowd favorite by crushing the quad bumps with the ease and grace of a ballerina. That combined with a top time of 35.70, despite falling during his run, earned him 3rd place for the guys. Nicolas Bertrand, who’s alter Ego Bruce Lee was messing with him all weekend still managed to come in 2nd by stomping a bunch of steezy tricks and captivating the ever attentive peanut gallery with a time of 35.43 seconds. The Godfather of snowboarding Kevin Sansalone, showed no mercy and took first place with flow and ease with an unbeatable time of 35.15 seconds.
Thinking outside the box was strongly encouraged at this event. Malcolm Daly took the spirit award for bringing surf to the snow and managed to clear the widow maker double bumps right out of the start gate. The run did cost him an elbow in a sling but it was well worth it and earned the crowd’s biggest cheers. Mike Davis, our token telemarketer absolutely shredded the course and 3 well dressed mono skiers with balls of steel gave a solid show as well…literally…there were stitches to prove it.
Now, once you completely take over a closed resort it’s pretty much mandatory to hit the lodge for the after party. Pizza, karaoke and a silent auction accompanied your typical awards ceremony.
After intense calculations, the much anticipated Trifecta winners were announced. It was surprising and awesome to see names of riders that did not podium in any of the sub categories, place best overall. Tofino local, Nick Felice, who placed 3rd overall after an impressive performance at all three events even though he was nowhere to be found when the awards were announced. And that of Amy Sousa who placed second overall on the ladies side. Sousa was last years’ trifecta winner but she did it on skis. In order to avoid discrimination this year, she went into serious snowboard training and proved that she could easily trade her double planks for a single and still dominate.
In the end, Bruce Lee kicked ass and took first overall and Robin Van Gyn grabbed the Trifecta win for the ladies.
Later, when Felice finally decided to show up, he strutted on stage, grabbed a chair, threw on some sunglasses and casually sat, legs crossed, with a mic in his hand and confidently sang the best rendition of Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue anyone had ever seen. It literally got the entire room off their arse’s and onto the dance floor. The performance culminated with a random grabbing a stick and finally beating the crap out of the 4 ft Chinook Salmon Pinata, showering the crowed in candy, stickers, sunglasses and t-shirts. Felice clearly won karaoke.
Women’s snowboard top 3 (L to R): Sara Niblock, Robin Van Gyn, Joannie Robichaud
Men’s Snowboard Top 3 (L to R): Andrew Wood, Nicolas Bertrand, Kevin Sansalone
All in all, it was an epic weekend of down to earth good times that definitely will not be forgotten. This is one event you do not want to miss. I mean aside from all the other shenanigans you also get to be a part of raising over $7000 for Central Westcoast Forest Society.
Big ups to the Mount Washington staff for joining in on the event, putting up with seemingly never ending ‘one more song’ requests and for allowing a serious parking lot, after-party, camp out.
A huge thanks to all the sponsors for making the event happen and ensuring that all the participants walked away with a coup opus amount of swag.
MAJOR SHOUT OUT to Alicia Gilmour for being the number one reason this event is even happening. Huge thanks to Kevin Sansalone for helping dig the course and bringing drinks to the crew, all the other guys who built the course Kris Simmons, Patrick kitto, Dre Mueller, Mark Marynowski, Sarah King and everyone who brought shovels and dug the day of the event. Thanks to Dennis the Menace aka Mr. Excitement for the sound all weekend and providing a hell of a Karaoke performance, Lew Yallup. Kosuke Fujikura and Allison Alllen from Patagonia, Patty Slimmon, Max Dunn, Scotty Rae Arthur, Claudia LB, Genevieve Faubert, Amy Sousa for all the help, Ryan Taron on the MC, Lee Cardinal at the start gate, Mike Bray and Michelle Lampron for making the pinata by hand! Marie-Josee Hudon for first Aid and donating baby cedar trees as prizes. Paul Owen from PFOWoodworks for making those beautiful handcrafted cedar trophies and digging the course along with Sarah King who designed the logos, posters and awards graphics as well. Thanks to everyone at CWFS for taking us tree planting and Dennis from Toquath Nation for showing us his homeland and Totem pole. Thank you Erin Hogue and Bryanna Bradley for the pictures, Brian Hockenstein for making an edit too. So grateful for all the homies and this community of shredders! Thank you to all our sponsors who contributed so many amazing prizes.
PATAGONIA, ARBOR SNOWBOARDS, ARBOR SKATEBOARDS, SANDBOXLAND, DAKINE, OAKLEY, NIBZ, CLIFBAR, PINA STYLES, RELIC SURF SHOP, TOFINO BREWING COMPANY, KARAKORAM, STORM SURF SHOP, LONG BEACH SURF SHOP, GNU, LIB TECH.