Elite surfer: Peter Devries

Credit: Jeremy Koreski/O’Neill Europe

Devries is more than a great surfer, he’s an extraordinary athlete

Tofino, B.C. // Age: 28

When Peter Devries won the 2009 Cold Water Classic, it was more than Canada’s first victory in an international surf competition, and more than a dream hometown win for the country’s first full-time professional wave rider.

“For surfers here, it was also a confidence booster—he really broke down a door by showing that a Canadian could perform at the highest levels of the sport,” says Malcolm Johnson, the editor of Toronto-based SBC Surf magazine.

For Devries, competitions play second fiddle to just plain surfing, and he gets most of his—and his sponsors’—exposure through videos and photos. His partnership with Tofino-based photographer Jeremy Koreski landed him the cover of bible-of-the-sport Surfer magazine (another Canadian first), and two top-voted film segments on Innersection, an innovative online surf-flick collaboration.

The thing that most people don’t realize about Pete is that he’s not simply a really good surfer, he’s a truly elite athlete,” says Johnson. “The things he does in the water require an incredible amount of strength and balance and flexibility.”

Devries brushes off the praise. “I feel so fortunate to call surfing my job,” he says. He credits his success to a drive for progression. “I’m my biggest critic. I always think I can do better. I want everything I do to be enjoyable to watch.”

This profile is part of our Top 30 under 30 feature.