A Vancouver Island surfer rode La Jolla waves to a top-10 finish at the world para surfing championships this weekend.
Tyler Turner, of Campbell River, finished ninth at the 2020 AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship in La Jolla, California. He competes in the men’s kneel division.
Turner’s right leg was amputated below his knee following a skydiving accident in 2017. His left leg was amputated in 2018.
He was competing on Canada’s four-athlete team, which included Victoria Feige, of Vancouver (women’s kneel); Scott Patterson of Vancouver (men’s prone 1); and Ling Pai of Vancouver (women’s visually impaired 2).
The competition had a round-robin format where each surfer got to compete twice. The surfers were ranked according to the total of their best two waves from either heat.
In Turner’s division, the top eight advanced to the semifinals. He just missed out on advancing with his ninth-place finish.
“I didn’t surf very well in the contest but what do I expect when I haven’t surfed in 6 months?” said Turner in an Instagram post. “Gotta try and let that one slide off my back. It was an amazing week with amazing friends old and new and I hope I can do it again next year!!”
Feige defended her world title, surfing to a gold medal in the women’s kneel division. Pai finished with a silver medal in the women’s visually impaired 2 division. Patterson was 17th in the men’s prone 1 division.
Canada finished 13th in the team points competition.
According to the International Surfing Association, since the inaugural event in 2015, the sport of para surfing has “experienced an explosion of growth around the globe.”
The last time the event was held, just 120 athletes took part. This year, 140 athletes were expected at the event.
While the sport is expected to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games this summer, the para side continues to lobby for inclusion in the Paralympics. The ISA recently applied for inclusion in the 2023 Santiago Para Pan Am Games in Chile.
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What a week in San Diego! Unfortunately our trip has to be cut short and we are hitting the road back north today. I didn’t surf very well in the contest but what do I expect when I haven’t surfed in 6 months? Gotta try and let that one slide off my back. It was an amazing week with amazing friends old and new and I hope I can do it again next year!! . . @agathebernardphoto