The Standard (St. Catharines)

WIPEOUT CHALLENGE

Chippawa man appears on Wipeout Canada

- ALISON LANGLEY

Not long after filling in an online applicatio­n to be a contestant on the Canadian version of the television show Wipeout last June, Phil Demers, found himself sitting between Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme and CFL player Jesse Lumsden at a Toronto casting call.

NIAGARA FALLS — A love struck walrus and a racy photograph likely sealed the deal for Chippawa resident Phil Demers.

Not long after filling in an online applicatio­n to be a contestant on the Canadian version of the television show Wipeout last June he found himself sitting between Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme and CFL player Jesse Lumsden at a Toronto casting call.

“I’m not really sure what made me stick out,” Demers recalled, adding the photos of him with a walrus as well as a saucy image of him dressed as Santa Claus may have given him a slight edge.

The 33-year-old marine mammal trainer at Marineland is no stranger to the limelight.

He made headlines in 2007 after stories surfaced on how a 650 kilogram walrus at the park would follow him wherever he went.

He included a photo of the odd couple in his Wipeout applicatio­n.

Ap p roximately 45,000 Canadians applied to be on Wipeout Canada which features competitor­s tackling a series of absurd obstacle courses.

At the audition in August, Demers barked like a seal a couple of times and the producers were impressed. He had made the cut. Preparing for the event was easy — he didn’t change his routine at all.

“I must be a physical anomaly because I don’t work out,” he said.

“ Yes, I have an active job, but when I’m not at work I sit on the couch all day and eat pizza.”

The series was filmed in Argentina last October.

Demers’ performanc­e will appear in the Wipeout Canada premiere Sunday at 8 p. m. on TVtropolis.

“It will be an epic episode,” the Welland native said.

The four-part obstacle course includes a wall of boxing gloves that randomly punch contestant­s as they try to run past and the fan favourite ‘big balls.’

Demers had watched Wipeout in the past and was confident he could do better than the contestant­s he watched being battered by obstacles.

“ Boy, was I wrong,” he said with a laugh.

“ This course is designed to kick your ass. It is designed to destroy you.” One wipeout cost him dearly. “ For two months, I could barely walk.”

An admitted adrenaline junkie, Demers said nothing he’s done in the past compared to his Wipeout experience.

“I’ve swam with killer whales, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve jumped out of planes. I’ve done some crazy stuff but this, to me, has been the highlight.”

Due to contractua­l obligation­s, Demers cannot divulge how well he did … or how bad he did on the show.

To share his victory/ defeat with others, Demers will be on hand for the broadcast at the Boat House Restaurant in Chippawa on Sunday.

Fellow Wipeout Canada contestant­s will also attend the event, which is a fundraiser for Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children and kids affected by cancer.

The event kicks off 7 p.m. and will include raffles and door prizes.

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Phil Demers

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