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Dempfle-Olin of Tofino confirmed as Canada's first surfer Olympian

Surfer earned spot by winning the silver medal last fall in the 2023 Pan Am Games
Sanoa Dempfle-Olin of Tofino is the first Canadian to ever qualify for the Olympics in surfing. MARCUS PALADINO, RED BULL VIA THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian Olympic Committee on Monday officially confirmed Sonoa Dempfle-Olin of Tofino the nation’s first ever Olympian surfer.

The Islander had met all the qualification standards for the 2024 Paris Olympics but it’s not official for any Canadian athletes until the COC makes it so.

“I am so delighted for Sanoa, who will be the first Canadian surfer to compete at the Olympic Games,” said 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold-medallist relay runner Bruny Surin, who will be the Chef de Mission for the Canadian team in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“This cold-water athlete will undoubtedly warm Canadians’ hearts as she surfs the legendary Teahupo’o waves with power, speed and flow. I have no doubt that she will inspire the next generation to follow their dreams,” added Surin, in a statement.

Dempfle-Olin is taking it all in stride, like ride through a perfect curl.

“I am trying to treat it [Olympics] as another event but obviously it’s not just another event,” she has told the Times Colonist.

“It suddenly feels really close,” added Dempfle-Olin, who earned her spot in the Paris Olympics by winning the silver medal last fall in the 2023 Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.

“It feels super amazing to have the support of the town in which I grew up. Surfers who came before me here in Tofino have inspired me my whole life.”

Shannon Brown of Tofino will coach Dempfle-Olin in the Olympics.

The Paris Olympics surfing competition will take place among the crashing waves known as the Wall of Skulls in Teahupo’o, Tahiti.

The sport made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 but no Canadians competed. Now, from the spiritual and actual home of Canadian surfing in Tofino to Teahupo’o’s imposing waves, that will change.

Dempfle-Olin will be among the more than 40 athletes from the Island expected to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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