The West Coast’s iconic all-female surf competition will fill Tofino with a revelrous showcase of the powerfully unique surf scene this weekend.
The tenth annual Queen of the Peak will rule the waves of Cox Bay from Oct. 4-6.
Over 130 athletes have signed up to compete at this year’s event, which includes a Princess of the Peak category for surfers 16 and under and a new Master’s Division for surfers over 40.
The massive roster of competitors illustrates the event’s impressive and organic growth since it was first launched by Surf Sister Surf School and Shelter Restaurant in 2009.
Krissy Montgomery of Surf Sister told the Westerly News that the idea for an all-female surf competition was hatched during a conversation between herself and Shelter’s Jay Gildenhuys during the lead up to that year’s Cold Water Classic, which only allowed male entrants.
“He wondered if it bothered myself or any of my ‘surf sisters’ that the contest was for men only. My reply was that women are so used to getting ‘shafted’ during surf competitions that we didn’t really care. This upset him as, for [Gildenhuys], one of the things that makes the Tofino surf scene stand out is the amount of women that participate in the sport and surf lifestyle here,” Montgomery explained.
“Together we talked about how, if we reverse-engineered a contest that addresses all the reasons why women don’t typically participate, we were sure that we could get women excited about contest surfing here. Also, the timing was perfect, so we hustled and put the contest together so it ran as a single day event the day before the Cold Water Classic. It was our way of showing how distinct our surf scene is here and how high the level of talent is on the female side of surfing as opposed to just the men.”
She said profound support from the West Coast communities as well as the athletes themselves helped that inaugural event transform into the three-day competition and weeklong celebration of the local surf scene that Queen of the Peak has become.
“The contest has been a great stage to showcase athletes and raise the bar of surfing in Canada,” she said. “The contest is a great way for us to celebrate our unique surf scene in Tofino. We get to showcase the level of talent and set the stage for athletes to shine. It’s a great way to connect with your neighbours and show support for your sisters, wives, friends and children. It’s about tearing down stereotypes and celebrating a healthy lifestyle and friendships.”
She encourages everyone to check out the action over the weekend, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the beach festivities and added that merchandise will be available with proceeds going towards funding the annual event.
Anyone unable to get to Cox Bay this weekend can watch the competition live at www.queenofthepeak.com.