Canadian Surfers Chase Olympic Dreams in Tahitian Waves


Canada’s finest surfers are hitting the waves in Tahiti, engaging in a crucial test session at Teahupo’o – the venue for the upcoming Olympic surfing event. Dom Domic, the executive director of Surf Canada, hailed Teahupo’o as “one of the planet’s most illustrious three waves.”

He articulated the challenge and visual splendor embodied by the surfing destination. “Tahiti presents an absolutely stunning spatial spectacle. It’s a tropical paradise, with green mountains, crystal-blue waters, and a thrilling, albeit dangerous competition. All of this taking place over live coral, about a kilometer from the beach,” he said.

The surfers’ voyage anticipates the Pan American Games – a significant Olympic qualifier for Canadian participants. The Canadian delegation in Tahiti comprises siblings Sanoa and Mathea Olin, Cody and Levi Young, and other surfers Reed Platenius and Wheeler Hasburgh accompanied by coach Shannon Brown. Unfortunately, highly promising teenager Erin Brooks could not attend as she is involved with sponsor commitments in California related to the World Surf League finals.

Brooks previously garnered attention when she bagged a shortboard silver medal at the World Surfing Games in El Salvador, at the tender age of 15. Although born in Texas, she possesses family ties in Quebec and has been playing under the Canadian banner as she works towards Canadian citizenship.

However, her unresolved citizenship status has recently caused issues. The International Surf Association ruled that her points achieved for the Canada team would be rescinded despite her maintaining the medal won at El Salvador.

Surfing made its Olympic debut in Tokyo with no Canadian representation in the field. Cody Young secured a last-minute call-up owing to a COVID-related opening, but couldn’t attend due to pandemic-imposed travel complications.

Victory in the Pan Am games, scheduled in Santiago from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5, could mean Olympic qualification for Canadian surfers. Sixteen surfers will be battling for Olympic spots in Chile on both the men’s and women’s sides.

In addition, the ISA World Surfing Games scheduled in Puerto Rico next February is another potential pathway to the Olympics. Canada, however, does not have any contenders on the World Surf League Championship Tour.

Sanoa Olin marked a significant achievement in the North American Qualifying Series by capturing the shortboard event. This was her third final this year and her first triumph.

The logistics of organizing the seven-day Tahiti camp was an uphill climb, especially the need for local know-how and boat transportation resources to ensure safety. Domic expressed confidence about their readiness, adding, “We’re in good hands.”

The camp’s funding was aided by the Canadian Olympic Committee and supplemented through donations and Surf Canada. Surfing alumni including Brooks, Cody Young, and Sanoa Olin have previously tackled the Teahupo’o waves.

Brooks along with teenagers Mathea Olin and Platenius hail from Tofino, B.C, while Cody and Levi Young, despite being born in Hawaii, are eligible via their Toronto-born father to represent Canada. Finn Spencer and Catherine Temple (Stand Up Paddle Surf) and Mike Darbyshire and Lina Augaitis (Stand Up Race) and Olivia Stokes (longboard) have also qualified for the Pan American Games.

Mathea Olin marked a previous achievement at the Pan American games, securing a Bronze medal in longboard at the 2019 Lima, Peru event.


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