Queen Of The Peak : Empowering Female Surfers In The Pacific Northwest
The strength of community in the female surf scene in Tofino is fierce. Located on one of Canada’s most jaw-dropping cold water coastlines, the salty paradise of Tofino is home to a community of female surfers who live and love amongst this beautiful rainforest. There is no other word that accurately describes the incredible passion, strength and courage that drives this inspired surf town and its female surfers. And no event highlights this community, like Queen of the Peak.
On it’s 9th year, Queen of the Peak empowers female surfers in the Pacific Northwest to charge the waves and take the beaches for a weekend filled with supporting friends and good times. I headed to Tofino for the weekend to catch some of the events, meet with the community and find out what exactly makes the female surf community in Tofino so strong.
Created in partnership with Surf Sister and Shelter Restaurant, Queen of the Peak is a three-day, all-female surf competition sponsored by Billabong on the beaches of Tofino on Vancouver Island, Canada. The competition inspires women from around the world to be a part of this event, encouraging and celebrating their love for surfing, the ocean, and this community. The championship features three different awards. Princess of the Peak for the U16 girls, encouraging everyone from adorable white-wash catching soft-tops to absolute rippers like this years winner Jasmine Porter. Queen of the Peak gives out a longboard and a shortboard award. This year Hawaii-local Leah Dawson took the Longboard category with her beautiful water dancing, while local legend in the making 14 year old Mathea Olin won the Shortboard category with some incredible moves to land her the coveted top spot. In a quote we love, Leah says “My biggest compliment is not that I surf like a man, but that I surf like a woman.”
I spent the weekend adventuring around Vancouver Island with Billabong surfer Sanoa Olin as she showed us a behind-the-scenes look at Cox Bay, where the competition took place. Sanoa absolutely slayed in the water, coming in 2nd in the Shortboard category alongside her sister’s first place in a heat that left us all on our toes. At only 13 years old, Sanoa travels around the world with her surfing family chasing waves, charging with Billabong, and inspiring us all through her movements on her surfboard and epic shredding. In an interview with local shaping studio Aftanas, Sanoa says “There is nothing better than waking up and going surfing in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. Our waters are so clean and I feel so alive when I’m submerged in them.”
The event featured some incredibly fun on-and-off the water events this year, including Sodium High, an all-female art show at the new Tofino Roasting Co. Local photographers including surf photographer Bryanna Bradley, artists, and creative women showed their work in this beautiful space, kicking off the weekend early. Billabong hosted a premier of “Kissed by God: Andy Irons” to a sold-out crowd at the Tofino Legion, with the whole community tuned in to reflect on the intensities that come with surfing and mental health.
Here’s to celebrating Queen of the Peak’s 10th year next year. I can’t wait to get back in the water with these girls. Empowered women, empower women. And Tofino’s female surf community is a perfect example of living and loving in that message.
Take a look through the beautiful photos from Jordan Dyck from this epic weekend: