Name: Peter Devries
Hometown: Tofino, BC
Bio: Is Peter Devries Canada’s best surfer? Let’s take a look at the facts: Devries won O’Neil Cold Water Classic on his home waters in 2009, has graced the cover of Surfer magazine (a Canadian on the cover of Surfer — think about it!) and has only been defeated in competition on Canadian waters once in the past eight years. Well, if he is the best, he’ll probably never admit it — these days Devries generally eschews professional competition for hometown life in Tofino, on Vancouver Island, surfing West Coast waves in West Coast rain and spending time with friends and family.
EXPLORE: What was it about surfing that you found irresistible – the initial draw?
PETER DEVRIES: In the beginning it was all about watching what my dad was doing and wanting to copy him. When I really started getting into it and figuring it out, I realized how difficult it was and the challenge of improving was what I was drawn to.
EX: When did you decide you wanted to make a living as a pro surfer?
PD: It wasn't something I really decided. I knew I wanted to make a living, but at the time it didn't seem attainable for me. I finished high school and knew I wanted to travel the world and surf and things just worked out from there. I'd been riding for Hurley for a few years and they offered me a contract and things have just kept going from there.
EX: What are your thoughts on surf competition these days?
PD: I still enjoy competing, but only from time to time. The hard thing about living in Tofino and competing is how long it takes to get to all these places. The travel is a pain, and also the fact that you are surfing mostly average waves with 200 people out every time you surf. That takes the joy of going to new places out of it. One of my favourite things about surfing is surfing uncrowded places so competing was the exact opposite of that.
EX: What are you wearing and riding these days?
PD: I just got a new sample suit from Hurley for 2013 and it's amazing. So comfortable and flexible. I've been riding a lot of Sitka XTR epoxy boards lately. They are really light, fast and lively so they feel really good in the waves in Tofino
EX: What is special about surfing on Canada’s West Coast?
PD: The scenery and the area are pretty special. The waves here are really consistent too, which I like; and when you get those good days at secret spots with not many people are around it's hard to beat.
EX: Can you give me a rundown of your training regime?
PD: Surf a lot! [Then] light stretching and massage.
EX: What do you feel has been the most important element of your success?
PD: For me it's always been about wanting to improve. I have never been satisfied with how I surf so I'm always trying to get better. I analyse video to pick out little things that I want to change.
EX: If you had three tips for people starting out in recreational surfing, what would they be?
PD: 1. Have fun. That's what it's all about.
2. Pay attention to the ocean and learn how to read it.
3. Learn the rules of the lineup.