Below is O’Neill’s interview with Canadian pro surfer Noah Cohen, ambassador of the Cold Water Classic (CWC) Canada. The first professional surf competition ever held in Canada was scheduled to begin today in Tofino with the wild card heats.
Born: Tofino, BC, Canada
Date of Birth: April 20, 1989
Sponsors: O’Neill, Oakley, Sitka Surfboards, Storm Surf Shop, Adanac
How long have you been surfing?
I had my first surf around the age of 11, but didn’t start surfing all year until I was 13 – that’s when I could finally fit a wetsuit that was warm enough to get through the winter; a women’s size four!
What got you into surfing?
Living and growing up on the beach it was just a natural progression. I am actually surprised I didn’t start sooner. I started off on a body-board with a couple of friends but the novelty wore off in a couple of weeks, as all I wanted to do was stand up.
What do you enjoy about surfing?
Having the freedom to surf whenever you want and enjoy the moment by yourself without the need for a team is definitely one of the many things that make surfing enjoyable. Heading to the beach at a moments notice and scoring great waves with no one out is what dreams are made of.
Who is your favourite surfer?
Dane Reynolds has got to be at the top of my list right now; not only is he one of the most innovative surfers in the world he is an all-round great guy with one of the quirkiest personalities on tour – a true legend!
What is your favourite maneuver?
Nothing like a powerful carve in the pocket that blows the lip right off the top of the wave. Growing up on beach break this is a maneuver that seldom is performed as you are always racing sections – this is one aspect of my surfing I hope to improve.
What is your biggest accomplishment in surfing?
The biggest honour is definitely being chosen by my sponsor O’Neill to be the Ambassador for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada – the first international surfing event to come to Canada.
Where do you see your goals lie when it comes to surfing?
I just want to keep surfing, traveling and having fun and constantly improving my surfing. Winning contests feels great, but I am not someone who goes to sleep every night thinking about getting my two scores in a 20 minute heat.
Who is your favourite person to surf with?
Definitely Peter Devries. He is one of my best friends – he surfs so well it’s scary! Watching him surf makes me want to surf that much better, plus he is good at sharing waves, and we all like to catch waves don’t we?
What has been your craziest surf session?
Must be the surf Pete and I had during the heaviest snowstorm of last winter – it was pretty wild, not because of the waves being big or anything, but just how quiet and surreal it all was.
Describe the average surf day at home?
Usually, it starts with Pete waking me up followed by the rapid consumption of two cups of black coffee and we are off for a surf. Lately we’ve been shooting a lot with photographer Jeremy Koreski and videographer Adam Chilton.
After a few hours of getting “work” done I come home and devour anything I can find in the fridge. Typically this is followed by decompressing on the coach watching the latest in surf films or catching up on the happenings in the surf industry online – a little research and development!
If the weather cooperates, a round of golf might be in order then immediately back in the water for round 2 and even round 3 if the daylight permits and the surf is cranking. More eating. If there is a hockey game on, it’s back to the couch with a couple of cold beers and call it a night.
As a well-travelled surfer what is your best surf travel destination?
My favourite is definitely Indonesia as it has the best waves on the planet, friendly locals and plenty of nightlife if you are so inclined – the best bang for buck for sure.
Where has your search taken you? And what did you find to be your favourite surf spots?
Indonesia, California, Mexico, Hawaii, Morocco, Portugal and Brazil to mention a few. Lakey Peak and Periscopes were by far two of my favourites. Keramas is also a really good spot if you are lucky enough to catch a wave!
What does it mean to you being the Ambassador of the O’Neill CWC Canada?
I am not sure if I have fully come to grasps with it yet. It is such an honor for me – I really don’t know what to say – flattered, nervous, excited. It’s really cool!
Are there any pressures within the surfing community in Tofino as you become one of the elite?
I would say any pressure I have experienced has primarily come from myself to excel. Having grown up with some of the best surfers in Canadian history has definitely inspired me and made me into the surfer I am today.
Any shout outs?
All my friends, sponsors, people that have supported me along the way and to the most special lady in my life, my mum.