A fun weekend for a fishy cause





Founded in 2017 by friends Marie-France Roy and Alicia Gilmour, the WestCoast Triple Plank (WCTP) is an annual event celebrating sport, community, and environment on Vancouver Island. While participants compete in at least one of three weekend contests (snowboarding, surfing, and skateboarding), the WCTP is more community gathering than cutthroat competition. Its focus is on bringing people together to have a good time while also raising funds and awareness for Redd Fish Restoration Society, a Ucluelet-based charity that focuses on ecosystem restoration, research, and education.

My introduction to the WCTP came on a rainy Friday in May at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Participants and spectators had shown up the day before to build the course for the snowboard segment of the weekend, a banked slalom event. Despite soggy conditions, spirits were high, tunes were pumping, slushy berms were being blown apart, and riders were sessioning jumps at the bottom of the course.

WestCoast Triple Plank

A grassroots, family affair

I immediately sensed this event had a different feel—it’s a truly grassroots, good-time, family affair. Olympic athletes raced alongside mini-groms, a course-side DJ judged a chairlift dance competition, and creative costumes were in play. People were happily camped out in the muddy parking lot—and I didn’t hear one complaint about the rain. The stoke was high.

After wrapping up the banked slalom, participants drove to Tofino for the remaining events. Saturday morning brought sunny skies and a festive atmosphere at Cox Bay. Surfers were grouped into heats of six for 20-minute showdowns. Again, all abilities were welcomed. On the beach, a jovial mix of families and friends hung out to watch the competition while enjoying music and fresh coffee.

Wrapping things up at Tuff City Skatepark

Later that afternoon, the location switched from sand to cement as the weekend’s final sporting event took place at Tuff City Skatepark. Perfect West Coast weather brought hundreds of spectators. They covered every square inch of the small park, angling for prime viewing space. Men, women, and kids participated in jam-style heats while the crowd cheered. With sunny weather, tons of people, and an overall party-like atmosphere, the skatepark portion of the event was a highlight of the weekend.

With the sport events done and dusted, awards, après, and a silent auction were held that evening at Tofino Brewing Company. The 2023 trifecta category winners were Mary Rand, Austen Sweetin, and Myst Wizard, each pulling off top scores in all three events.

WestCoast Triple Plank

Supporting Redd Fish Restoration Society

The awards night allowed Redd Fish director Jess Hutchinson and staff members to share a few words on behalf of the organization, an educational piece foundational to WCTP’s mandate. To date, they have raised over $80,000 through six events. All funds raised directly support the important work they do.

“The WestCoast Triple Plank is an incredible annual event for Redd Fish! This event not only brings amazing vibes, but also helps raise funds for important work,” said Mandala Smulders, the Director of Operations at Redd Fish.

Smulders explained some of the organization’s 2023 successes: “With help from Triple Plank donations, Redd Fish planted over 60,000 trees; installed large wood structures to improve in-stream habitat; salvaged and safely relocated over 20,000 stranded juvenile salmon; and provided meaningful, full-time employment and job training to the local communities, including the five local First Nations. Redd Fish continues to work towards rebuilding wild salmon populations and this work would not be possible without the annual support from this rad event!”

WestCoast Triple Plank

On Sunday, with the official Plank-related events done, dedicated participants met at a Tofino trailhead to give back to the community by doing some trail maintenance under the leadership of Redd Fish Restoration Society employees.

Fuelled with snacks and coffee from Rhino Coffee House, the group enjoyed an informational forest tour with well-known “Nature Nerd” Ross Reid before getting to work on the trail network. Many hands made light work as volunteers tackled the large pile of gravel that needed to be carried and dispersed along the trail.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed and inspired by the entire WCTP weekend. From a spectator perspective, it was inclusive, entertaining, and educational.

This year’s event takes place April 25–28. According to co-founder Marie-France Roy, things will look a little different this year, with “a slightly new format which will allow for two evenings in Tofino instead of just one. This will give us more time to educate our participants further on the work of Redd Fish with a movie night (Saturday) followed by a concert evening on Sunday night.” A weekend of fun that helps restore and protect our wild places and playgrounds? Count me in.

For more information, head to westcoasttripleplank.com.