Meet the best Canadian athlete most Canadians have never heard of — yet


Paige Alms lives to surf however the harsh actuality of that way of life is that she should additionally work to surf — two nights per week slinging tacos, beer and burgers at the Fishmarket Restaurant in her hometown of Paia, Maui.

Never thoughts the Victoria native is the two-time huge wave world champion.

Never thoughts she’s the first and solely lady to barrel trip the notoriously large Maui wave generally known as “Jaws.”

Browsing, particularly ladies’s browsing, has simply never been a reliable car for paying the payments.

However that is not the level for Alms, who says it is extra about the private payoff than the paycheque. 

“Browsing continues to be a really non secular sport,” she mentioned. “Being related with nature and being in the ocean is certainly my true ardour.”

Paige who?

At age 30, Alms may be very seemingly the best Canadian athlete no Canadian has ever heard of. There is a cause for that. 

At age 9 she moved to Maui together with her mother. By age 13, she was making a reputation for herself as one of the best younger American surfers, competing underneath the Hawaiian flag.

Alms will most likely go for a moist go well with this weekend when she hits the chilly water at the 2018 Surf Canada Nationals off Wickaninnish Seashore in Tofino. (Eric Aeder/CBC)

She never thought of giving up her Canadian citizenship as a result of in a small sport like browsing citizenship simply did not matter. Till it did.

Two years in the past, the Worldwide Olympic Committee voted to add browsing to the summer time Olympic program for the 2020 Tokyo Video games.

Recreation changer

Immediately, the Hawaiian surf star turned a Canadian Olympic medal favorite.  

“So far as representing Canada, it is going to catch loads of folks unexpectedly. However I used to be born there and proceed to carry my Canadian passport,” she mentioned.

“Being half of the Olympics is a game-changing expertise. And for certain it opens up an entire new avenue for athletes. However the first step is getting on the Canadian crew.”

Regardless of her credentials, that is not precisely a slam dunk. 

Alms will have to be at her best in the smaller circumstances off Wickaninnish Seashore in Tofino this weekend, web site of the 2018 Surf Canada Nationals and the first step in Olympic qualification.

There, she’ll be up towards hometown favorite Mathea Olin, the 2017 Pan American gold medallist, and California champion Bethany Zelasko, who’s eligible for crew Canada by advantage of her Canadian-born mom.

Canadian browsing: small however mighty

Surf Canada president Dom Domic says for a small browsing nation, Canada is surprisingly mighty, particularly on the ladies’s facet.

“There’s loads of nations with a a lot deeper expertise pool than Canada, however our good ones are world class.” he mentioned. “And Canada tends to do properly at new occasions at the Olympics so we hope that development continues.”

The forecast for the Tofino nationals requires sensible sunshine however small surf — not precisely the best discussion board for an enormous wave world champion. Waves over six metres excessive are thought of “huge” and are surfed on an extended board, whereas a brief board is utilized in smaller waves.

However Alms is greater than prepared. 

“Folks do not realize I surf on a brief board 99 per cent of the time. I could also be recognized for large wave browsing however I trip  the whole lot,” she mentioned.

“Since October I’ve had simply 4 huge wave periods. Except you are travelling continuous 12 months spherical chasing storms round the globe … you actually have a handful of alternatives to showcase your browsing in huge waves.”

Sponsors stepping up

The Olympic are nonetheless over two years away however the Olympic highlight might already be working in Alms’ favour. Throughout the interview for this story, she revealed she had simply come from signing a significant sponsor — Patagonia Clothes. 

“I am actually, actually blissful about it,” she mentioned.

She additionally hinted that different offers had been in the works that might permit her surrender the restaurant job to chase waves full time. 

“As of immediately, I do not essentially have to work anymore. However I’ll give it one other month or two.”



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