Freshwater Wave Showdown

Text & Photos by Allison Kennedy Davies.

The 2nd Annual West Shore Huron Classic presented by Billabong went down Saturday at Station Beach in Kincardine. This year the holding period for the comp started mid-summer but it took until mid-October for organizers to get the truly impressive waves Kincardine is growing increasingly famous for. And it was well worth the wait…

Conditions were on point and the word has clearly gotten out about this freshwater surf comp. In all, 54 competitors braved the chilly Lake Huron waters to share waves and battle for Great Lakes supremacy.

Not only has the comp grown in numbers, it’s grown in sheer stoke factor. With the top three finishers in the Men’s short board competition hailing from France, Mexico and Brazil, Great Lakes surfing is thriving. If you need more proof that this contest is legit, consider the fact that the top three Men’s Shortboard finishers have earned a spot in the Rip Curl Pro Tofino event. They’ll be representing the Great Lakes and vying for their share of the $25,000 purse. Advancing to the Tofino event are Aurélien Bouché-Pillon, Pablo Bonilla and John Belfort.

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While the prizes are amazing, this event is about so much more. It takes a special breed to suit up and hit the waters in mid-October and this group is all about sharing their love for surfing-freshwater or otherwise. Perhaps one of the most coveted awards is the Aloha Spirit Award. Awarded to two recipients each year, this award celebrates a surfer whose passion for the sport is obvious and always shared. James Carrick and Ariel Amaral were the 2014 winners.

The event was a huge success and West Shore owner Ashley Adams dropped a few hints about possibly running a spring and fall version in 2015. The word is out and the waves are great – as long as you’re patient!

Great Lakes Surfers‘ James Carrick takes the plunge off the Kincardine pier. Carrick went on to win the Aloha Spirit Award alongside female SUP/surfer Ariel Amaral. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
Men’s Longboard winner (and Mexican Longboard champ) Pablo Bonilla warms up in the morning swell. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
Hannah Simmis picked up second in the women’s class. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
Kincardine local Zachary Brajuha tames a monster wave. Brajuha finished sixth in Men’s SUP. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
Men’s shortboard winner Aurélien Bouché-Pillon closes out the comp with a sunset session. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
On top of the world: Surfers were treated to some great waves from start to finish. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
On top of the world: Surfers were treated to some great waves from start to finish. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.
With a much larger field than last year, surfers were still walking the pier at sunset. ALLISON KENNEDY DAVIES PHOTO.

2nd Annual West Shore Huron Classic presented by Billabong 2014 Results:

Women’s Overall:
1. Ariel Amaral – Barrie, Ontario Canada
2 Hannah Simmis – Horseshoe Valley, Ontario Canada
3. Kristen Hanna – Markham, Ontario Canada

Men’s SUP:
1. Josh Gordon – Kincardine, Ontario Canada
2. Pablo Bonilla – Mexico
3. Dan Thompson
4. Ashley Adams – Kincardine, Ontario Canada
5. Rob Bosman – Kincardine, Ontario Canada
6. Zachary Brajuha – Kincardine, Ontario Canada

Men’s Longboard:
1. Pablo Bonilla – Mexico
2. Andrew Wyton – London, Ontario Canada
3. Seamus Little – Orillia, Ontario Canada
4. Todd Fetter – Sauble Beach, Ontario Canada
5. Adam Pettengill
6. Nick Coughlin

Men’s Shortboard:
1. Aurélien Bouché-Pillon – France
2. Pablo Bonilla – Mexico
3. John Belfort – Brazil
4. Matthew Rocheford – Barbados
5. Dave Edwath – Collingwood, Ontario Canada
6. Jimenez Leal Ossiel – Mexico

The West Shore Waterman 2014 Award
Pablo Bonilla – Mexico

Aloha Spirit Award
Ariel Amaral – Womens – Barrie, Ontario Canada
James Carrick – Mens – Owen Sound, Ontario

West Shore Wave of the day:
John Belfort – Brazil


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