Cree cuber wins national championship

Walter Duff from Chisasibi, Que., won the Skewb event with a time of 3.77 seconds.

Walter Duff from Chisasibi, Que., won the Skewb event with a time of 3.77 seconds

Walter Duff, left, with fellow cuber Louis Cormier. Duff won first place in the Skewb event and third place in the 2X2X2 event in Niagara Falls, Ont., in July. (Submitted by Warren Duff)

Walter Duff, a Cree cuber from the northern community of Chisasibi, Que., captured his first national title at the Canadian Cubing Championships in Niagara Falls.

Duff won the Skewb event with a time of 3.77 seconds — the Skewb is a combination puzzle in the style of a Rubik's cube. He also placed second in another event and made it to six final rounds at the championships which ran from July 26 to 28.

"Going in I was feeling good about my chances and I was already excited, seeing the venue and everyone there," Duff said. "It felt great to be champion. I was very happy and kept repeating, 'Yes! Yes!' and people were high-fiving me."

Duff said he was hoping to set a national record, but being Canadian champion is a better result.

Duff's top sponsor, Northern Store, followed his progress throughout the tournament on social media and was very excited for his championship win, said Ed Mckay the manager of the Northern in Chisasibi.

McKay said he has known the family for a long time and is impressed with Duff's ambition.

"He's gone from the young kid trying to be like the best cubers he's read about, to now other young kids are looking at what he does. He's a mentor even at his young age," said McKay.

Dave Campbell, the director of canadianCUBING, is present at all major cubing events in the country and has watched Duff since the beginning.

"When I first met him he was just getting into cubing and now to see his times drop so dramatically. It's really great to see him ascend the ranks of cubing in every event he competes in," said Campbell.

According to Campbell, teenagers often improve rapidly in cubing once they become serious.

Duff said travelling to tournaments is expensive and he is content with what he has achieved. He said he'll be taking the rest of the summer off, before attending his next event in the fall.