Mathea Olin, 14, stands at Cox Bay beach with the medals she won at the Pan American Games in Peru at the beginning of December. Olin won a bronze in the women’s shortboard and gold in the longboard. Her medals are the first surf medals for Canada in international competition. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Historic win for young Tofino surfer

“I hope this medal is the first of many.”

Tofino surfer Mathea Olin looks strong as she paddles out at her home break at the north end of Cox Bay on a drizzly Saturday in December.

The 14-year-old Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopeful effortlessly punches through walls of whitewater, navigating herself into position to catch a head high green wave out back.

In minutes, she catches the first clean wave that rolls towards her and beautifully executes a powerful snap manoeuvre on its open face. Like a snowboarder carving powder, a flash of spray projects above her head.

“My main focus is definitely shortboard. I love longboards and literally will only longboard like 10-times a year, so I kind of just hop on a longboard a couple times before a comp,” said Olin.

Most recently, her free and organic approach to longboard competition earned the young athlete a gold medal at the Pan American Surfing Games in Peru at the beginning of month.

“I was up against a three-time world champion. I was like, I’m probably not going to win so I’m just gonna go out there and have fun longboarding and try new stuff,” she recalls.

Then on a longboard she borrowed from a teammate, Olin cruised her way to a perfect 10 wave score.

“I was so lucky to have it. I was stoked before I even finished the wave.”

Surf Canada president Dom Domic was in Peru for the event.

“She had all the competitors area standing on their feet and cheering and chanting 10!10!10! Canada, Canada… over and over. It was such a pure moment of sporting magic,” said Domic.

A couple days prior to winning the longboard title, Olin picked up a bronze medal in the women’s open shortboard division.

“Mathea winning the bronze was the first surf medal for Canada in international competition,” Domic told the Westerly.

Olin’s support system runs deep. Her main surf coach is Christian Moutinho from Victoria and when she’s in Kauai, Russell Lewis provides coaching. Randy Celebrini is her personal trainer and physiotherapist in Tofino.

“Pete Devries has been mentoring me quite a bit too,” Olin said.

There’s also her training partner and younger sister, Sanoa, nipping at her heels. Sanoa, who made history in May by being the youngest competitor to win the Rip Curl Pro title, placed 10th in the women’s shortboard division in Peru.

Canada ranked fourth out of 15 nations that competed in the Pan American Games. Argentina placed third, Brazil second, and Peru ranked first.

According to Domic, Mathea’s win gives her momentum going into next year’s ‘do or die’ PanAm 2019 qualifier at the same locale.

“The Olympic pathway has not be determined at this time, but the IOC will have it by March 2018,” said Domic.

Olin is currently preparing for a number of different International Surfing Association competitions and World Surf League junior qualifying series.

“I hope this medal is the first of many,” she said. “I wanna say thanks to my family, all my sponsors, and the whole entire community here for supporting me.”

Just Posted

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Nanaimo blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

Judy Woodruff discovers bedroom of home in south Nanaimo turned upside-down; jewelry and art stolen

Vancouver Island man in Russia to reshape the future of hockey

NHL official Rob Schick talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Couple collecting empties to feed VIU scholarship fund can’t pick up cans on campus anymore

Parmars have been picking up cans for 12 years; university now enforcing safety policy

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Striking loggers get space at North Island Mall

Space gives union members a Port Hardy base of operations to collect donations, talk to public

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular returns to Vancouver Island for 13th year

Festive stage production brings variety of dance and musical styles to Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Vancouver Island veterinarian heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

Most Read