Port Renfrew’s surfer extraordinaire, Leah Oke, once again rode the wave to the podium, this time in her home waters.
In this year’s fourth annual Queen of the Peak — Women’s Surf Contest, Port Renfrew’s Leah Oke placed first in the Longboard competition, and third in Shortboard.
Tofino’s Queen of the Peak surf competition has been going since 2010, when they began with 52 women in a one-day competition. They have since grown to a two-day event, and the weekend of Oct. 5 saw 100 women register. It is an open competition, meaning that there are no pre-qualifying competitions to win.
“More girls, more support, more media coverage,” summed up Oke.
As far as women in the sport of surfing, Oke finds that women are well represented on the West Coast. “The Queen of the Peak makes it happen for all the girls,” she commented, “It’s the only one I’ve every seen where they do all this,” referring to the female-friendly add-ons.
According to SurfSister.com, the event was uniquely designed with women in mind.
“The contest is designed to be ‘female-friendly’ with free child care and dog sitting services for competitors and even has a massage tent staffed with Wickaninnish Inn Ancient Cedars Spa staff.”
In all her worldly surfing experiences, this competition is the only one Oke has seen with these thoughtful inclusions.
Oke will be heading back to her second newly-established home in Panama next weekend, and launching headlong in to competitions there. She will return in a few months, when she will be completing some footage for a film one of her sponsors will be doing on Oke.
Leah Oke, who originally hails from Port Renfrew and now lives half-time in Panama, placed first in the Shortboard competition in 2010, and second in the Longboard competition in 2012. Inspired by siblings and her father, Oke has been surfing since she was six, and is one of Canada’s first female pros. Now 28, Oke has four sponsors and is an established competitor on the world circuit.
Sooke is the gateway to surfing on the West Coast, with Jordan River and Sombrio beach listed as two favourite spots by VancouverIsland.com. Tofino, according to the website, is the surfing hub.
Results are posted on their website, at http://queenofthepeak.com/, and photos are available on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Queenofthepeak.