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The Legendary Tofino Surfing Sisterhood

Kat Leslie surf instructor with Surf Sisters Photo Kristin Kent

Tofino on Canada’s West Coast is a world-class surfing destination thanks to the hard work of a strong group of women.

“Commandeering a sport long known for its machismo, fearless female athletes have helped bring worldwide fame to what was once a sleepy B.C. village,” was the sub-title of a recent article in The Globe and Mail called How the surfing sisterhood helped put Tofino on the map.

The article focuses on Shelley Renard, Catherine Bruhwiler, Krissy Montgomery (owner of Surf Sister), Mathea Olin, Aqua Bruhwiler, Jennifer Smallwood, Tia Traviss and many others.

Aqua Bruhwiler is the daughter of Canada’s first professional surfer Raph Bruhwiler. At 12 years old, she is carving her own waves.

“Born and raised in Tofino, the budding surfer got her start when she was only eight years old and ‘just never really stopped,’ she said. ‘It’s my passion so I want to carry it on with me to the places I go.’”

Renard became one of the first women to surf in Canada’s frigid Pacific Ocean back in 1977.

Bryanna Wiebe is another of surfer mentioned in the article, “she moved from Whistler to Tofino three years ago in pursuit of learning to surf, saying even thinking about it today gives her the goosebumps.”

She said, “I’ve always experienced good vibes, high fives and party waves. It’s a form of meditation, just being in the ocean [and] feeling the waves and the movement – I’m addicted to it.”

The must-read article concludes with: “What I think about, more than being one of the first women, is how it’s evolved,” Renard says. “And how I’m so very proud to see the calibre of surfing with women now.”

Read the full article here.

Fun session. Pic @es.images @aftanassurf

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