Forget Bikinis, Boardshorts and Flipflops: Queen of the Peak is not your average surf contest

Originally published on October 1, 2013 on LATER.

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Photos Kyler Vos

Now in its fourth year, the Queen of the Peak surf championship held in Tofino, BC has grown into a two-day event with approximately 100 competitors. The championship, sponsored by Billabong and The Wickanininnish Inn, includes shortboard and longboard categories, and for the first time, a Princess of the Peak division for under 16s. This year’s all women’s surf contest takes place on October 5 and 6, 2013, at either Cox Bay or Chesterman Beach—depending on wave conditions.

Competitors vie for cash and prizes during 20 minute heats, in 11-13° water. First place in the shortboard category wins $1500. Top prize in the Longboard category is a new longboard donated by local Tofino shaper Stefan Aftanas and a one night’s stay night at the Wickanininish Inn.

The original idea for the Queen of the Peak came four years ago, after a conversation between Krissy Montgomery, owner of Surf Sister surf school, and Mike Jacobsen, manager of Shelter Restaurant. When Mike asked, “Is the female surf community upset that they aren’t able to participate in the Oneill Cold Water Classic (a WQS event that came to Tofino in 2009/2010)”, Krissy replied, “Women [in surfing] are used to being sidelined.” Mike wondered, “What could we do to change that?” Krissy said, “We could make women feel included in the local contest by celebrating and showcasing the number of amazing female surfers in the area.”

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“The judges will be looking for a variety of things, but it kind of breaks down into a few categories: speed, power, flow, variety of maneuvers, difficulty of maneuvers and how critical the maneuver is. If you put it all on the line and pull off a powerful, progressive maneuver you will be rewarded. The judging is modelled after the ASP format, which is kind of the world wide standard.” Mike said.

“The vibe of this contest is what really makes it special. Often you’ll see competitors hugging and cheering each other on. It really pulls the surf community together,” Krissy added. “The level of local talent keeps rising every year. The Queen of the Peak has had a different winner each year, so the finals should be spectacular as its anyone’s game.”

Some of the surfers to watch for this year include: Leah Oke from Port Renfrew; Hannah Scott, a local Tofino girl and employee at Surf Sister; Cath Bruhwiler, a born and raised Tofino local; and Tamarah Stevens who always makes it into the finals.

Event organizers, Krissy and Mike, have designed the Queen of the Peak with females in mind—offering free childcare, dog sitting, and complimentary massage and chiropractic services for competitors.

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Other Queen of the Peak events include a wine and cheese welcome reception at Surf Sister and a Billabong surf movie night at Shelter Restaurant. The highlight of the event will be an awards gala with a multi-course dinner at Shelter Restaurant.

All proceeds from the Queen of the Peak are donated to Keep a Breast Canada, whose mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.

“Each year our goal for the Queen of the Peak is to make everything a little bigger and a little better. We are working on getting better prizes for the contestants and on spreading the word about the event in order to boost tourism during what would normally be a quiet time for Tofino.”

For more information about Queen of the Peak

For travel and accommodation during Queen of the Peak contact Tourism Tofino

For free help and advice on planning or booking a vacation in BC contact Destination British Columbia at www.HelloBC.com

Queen of the Peak poster 2013

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