This surfer may be best Canadian athlete you have never heard of — yet


Paige Alms lives to surf however the harsh actuality of that life-style is that she should additionally work to surf — two nights every 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 girl to barrel trip the notoriously large Maui wave referred to as “Jaws.”

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

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

“Browsing remains to be a really religious sport,” she mentioned. “Being linked with nature and being within the ocean is certainly my true ardour.”

Paige who?

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

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

Alms will most likely go for a moist go well with this weekend when she hits the chilly water on the 2018 Surf Canada Nationals off Wickaninnish Seaside 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 season Olympic program for the 2020 Tokyo Video games.

Sport changer

Immediately, the Hawaiian surf star grew to become a Canadian Olympic medal favorite.  

“So far as representing Canada, it is going to catch so much of individuals abruptly. 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 a complete new avenue for athletes. However step one 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 within the smaller situations off Wickaninnish Seaside 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 aspect.

“There’s so much of international locations 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 on the Olympics so we hope that pattern continues.”

The forecast for the Tofino nationals requires sensible sunshine however small surf — not precisely the best discussion board for a giant wave world champion. Waves over six metres excessive are thought of “huge” and are surfed on a protracted 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 may be identified for large wave browsing however I trip  all the pieces,” she mentioned.

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

Sponsors stepping up

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

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

She additionally hinted that different offers have been within the works that would permit her surrender the restaurant job to chase waves full time. 

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



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