Mathea Olin is easy to spot as she emerges on the crest of a wave in her red rash guard, charging and carving down the line. “Boom! That was some beautiful surfing,” shouts the announcer, his voice resounding over Cox Bay. He waits for the results to come in. “Looks like we have our first excellent score of the day – an 8.00,” he tells the crowd on the beach. “Mathea is looking spicy.”
Cox Bay, a sandy beach break near Tofino, British Columbia, is dotted with surfers 365 days a year, but this weekend in particular it looks like a scene out of Blue Crush – just swap bikinis for fleeces and tuques, and palm trees for pines and ancient cedars. It’s been taken over by Queen of the Peak, an annual all‑women surf contest, where contestants compete in shortboard and longboard heats, as well as a Masters contest for women 40 and up, and Princess of the Peak for those 16 and under. Surfboards in every colour pepper the beach, and women of all ages stand together in wetsuits, dogs darting around them. Barefoot groms (short for grommets, a surf term for young ’uns) tromp through the sand in packs, swigging bottles of Tofino Kombucha.