Homegrown Tofino surfer Reed Platenius is currently at the top of the North American men’s pro junior leaderboard.
A recent victory at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver Qualifying Series (QS) contest on March 12 at Cocoa Beach, Florida put the 19-year-old Ucluelet Secondary School graduate at number one on the rankings.
Platenius said he’s in disbelief.
“I didn’t really think it was possible to be honest. But if you focus on yourself and don’t let the big names rattle you, it can be done. Mathea has done it. Sanoa has done it,” said Platenius over Facetime from the Dominican Republic.
Platenius said the waves were pretty good for finals day at Cocoa Beach.
“We got a little swell and my gear felt good. I lucked into a little wave at the start then lucked into a really good left and hit it twice. After that, I sat on Jett (Schilling) for the last 10 minutes. When the buzzer went, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.
His good friend and mentor Noah Cohen chaired him up the beach with help from Surf Canada Junior Team member Wheeler Hasburgh.
After the news got out that he had won, Platenius said his phone was flooded with congratulatory messages from all over.
“The support was insane. I even got a text from my soccer coach when I was nine. I love getting all the kind messages and the support from home.”
The March 12 victory plus a second place finish at an earlier QS gives Platenius a stronghold on qualifying for the World Junior Championships in January. Only the top two surfers from each WSL seven regions and 10 wildcards will be selected for the Junior Worlds.
A third WSL Junior Pro QS contest in Barbados at the end of March will determine the final selection for Junior Worlds.
Platenius has been travelling solo for weeks. After the contest in Barbados, he’ll head to Huntington Beach, California for another surf contest then it’s home to Cox Bay, Tofino for the Rip Curl CANAM Surfing Championships on April 14 to 16.
“They don’t call it the QS grind for nothing! It’s full on. There are a lot of early mornings. I enjoy it a lot and I feel so fortunate. I don’t see it as a vacation though. I see it as work,” said Platenius. He went on to thank his sponsors Surf Grove Campground, Rip Curl and Storm Surf Shop for all the support.