Junior pro surfer Bethany Zelasko won the Queen of the Peak (QoP) shortboard title on Oct. 1 at Cox Bay, earning a cash prize of $3,000.
The 17-year-old from Dana Point, California tactfully navigated a tight final heat against past QoP champions Hanna Scott (Tofino) and Sara Taylor (California), and pro longboarder Leah Dawson (Florida/Hawaii).
Zelasko was the heat leader from the get-go, and with a minute left, landed a big score to clinch the title.
“This in my first time coming to Tofino and I love it,” she told the Westerly News after the awards ceremony.
“I want to surf for Canada so hopefully I’ll get all my citizenship stuff through,” she said. “My mom is Canadian. She is from Vancouver.”
Zelasko, who currently competes for the USA in the World Surf League women’s qualifying series, said she would put her hard earned Canuck dollars towards future surf travels.
“This weekend was so much fun. It was perfect size. Honestly, this is such fun. I hope to come back here again and surf this contest,” said Zelasko.
“I just want to say thank you so much to the people that put on the event. They did an awesome job. They really took good care of us. The girls are just so fun to surf with and everyone is so nice. I can’t wait to come back and do it again.”
Tofino’s Jasmine Porter, 12, out surfed her local crew Chloe Platenius, Keanna Hasz and twin sister Serena in the finals to nab the Princess of the Peak crown.
The win marks Porter’s first Princess title. Porter described the conditions during Saturday’s semi-finals as “really big”.
“It was like nine-feet. It was pretty huge. Pretty much if you got a long one all the way in, I don’t think you’d be getting back out,” said the Grade 8 student at USS.
“My heat, we went out to the outside and Shandy, which I really have to thank, she was out there coaching us and sitting out there with us ‘cause it was so big.”
Porter said Sunday was a harder paddle, but the waves were still fun.
“The rights were kind of closing out so it was mostly lefts that I went for,” she said.
For the first time in its eight years running, the winner of the Princess of the Peak division took home a cash prize of $200.
During the awards ceremony, contest founder Krissy Montgomery expressed how proud she was of the young contenders.
“The Princess event was the highlight of my weekend,” she said. “I just think back when we started this contest eight years ago, you guys were just little kids. The first year we had princess of the peak you guys were in the whitewash, parents helping. Now I’m pretty sure you shred harder than all your parents. You girls killed it out there. I am over the moon proud,” said Montgomery.
Leah Dawson, originally from Florida who now lives on the North Shore of Oahu, won the longboard division and was runner-up in the shortboard.
“The women at Surf Sister have created a women’s surf community unlike anything I’ve witnessed,” Dawson wrote on her instagram @Leahloves. “The energy around this event is exactly what the world needs. Powerful women who love to work hard, and rejoice in the sea as well.”