PRINCESS OF THE PEAK: Tofino teen Keanna Hasz, 15, gets chaired off the beach by friends Jasmine Porter and Toby Theriault after winning the under-16 division of the tenth annual Queen of Peak. Hasz defeated Aqua Bruhwiler, Serena Porter, and Chloe Platenius to claim her first-ever Princess of the Peak title and a $500 prize purse. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

All-female surf contest has women and girls riding strong wave

Tofino hosts 10th annual Queen of the Peak Women’s Surfing Championships at Cox Bay

“It really doesn’t get any better than this,” said Krissy Montgomery at Sunday’s awards ceremony on stunning Cox Bay Beach.

“I know there is an entire competitive element in it, but so much of this is about friendship and support and love for each other in our community, so thank you so much ladies.”

Montgomery, the founder of Queen of the Peak and owner of Surf Sister Surf School, remembers begging people to sign-up for the inaugural Queen of the Peak all-female surf contest which took place this weekend near Tofino.

“I think we had about 30 people maybe 40 max enter. We did it in one day. And now look at us.”

Flash-forward to its tenth anniversary weekend, and the 2019 Queen of the Peak all-female surf contest saw 136 participants paddle out in red, white, blue, or yellow jerseys over the span of three days.

Montgomery had no trouble getting people to enter, in fact, she said this year’s contest sold out three out of four divisions in under 15-minutes.

“The girls are just frothing. Thank you so much everybody who played a part in this. Whether you participated, judged, volunteered, marshaled or sponsored, we could not have done this without you. It truly takes a community to run an event like this and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Montgomery.

Mathea Olin, Tofino’s teenage surf star who recently won Canada’s first-ever surfing medal at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games in August, claimed the Queen of the Peak shortboard crown for the second year in a row. She took home a prize purse of $3,000 for the win.


Mathea Olin, 16, waves her payout for winning the 2019 Queen of the Peak shortboard division.

“There are so many incredible women here competing and the level just gets higher and higher every time. The waves here are super fun and I just got inspired by Leah and Bethany and my sister everybody who was surfing,” Olin told the Westerly after besting her younger sister Sanoa, Team Canada member Bethany Zelasko and Leah Dawson in Sunday’s final.

For the third consecutive year, Dawson, a professional surfer based on the North Shore of Oahu, won the Queen of the Peak longboard crown in a heavily contested final against the Olin sisters and Kristy Murphy.

“In the longboard final, to be with my friend Kristy Murphy, she took me under her wing when I was a grom, when I was 14, and then to share it with Mathea and Sanoa who are like the most amazing grom sisters ever, it just was really full circle for me and it represented everything that I love about Queen of the Peak for sure,” said Dawson.


Dawson gets chaired up the beach by the Olin sisters after winning the longboard title for the third year.

“I’m in love with Tofino and everyone that lives here,” Dawson went on to say. “It’s what I think communities should aspire to be like. It’s really empowering to just be amongst these trees and the smiling faces. Keep sharing the joys of the sea.”

Tofino teen Keanna Hasz overflowed with happiness after the judges announced she had won the Princess of the Peak under-16 girls division.

“It was so fun to go out with three of my best friends. This is my first [Princess title]. I’m stoked,” said Hasz, who took home $500 for the top place finish.

“I’ll probably blow [the winnings] on a plane ticket to somewhere,” said the 2019 Princess of the Peak.

For the first-time in its decade long history, equal prize money was awarded in both the longboard and the shortboard division. A Master’s Division for surfers over 40 was also added to the program and Wildside Grill gifted $500 to the surfers that scored the ‘Wave of the Day’. (Check out the below clip for Bethany Zelasko’s cash winning wave.)

Tofino surf pioneer and Team Canada member Catherine Bruhwiler, above, earned the inaugural Queen of the Peak Masters title and a grand prize of dinner for 10 at Shelter Restaurant.

“I really wanted to be the first grandma to win Queen of the Peak,” said Bruhwiler.

In a serendipitous twist of events, Montgomery herself ended up slipping on a Queen of the Peak contest jersey and surfing as a ‘wildcard’ in the Masters division after a participant withdrew at last-minute.

“I was so nervous, but it was so much fun because I was with all my girlfriends,” beamed Montgomery with good cheer after her surf.


Surfers Krissy Montgomery, left, and Kate Orford celebrate after charging big waves in the first-ever Masters division at the tenth annual Queen of the Peak.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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