A 12-year-old Tofitian recently crushed her first American surf competition.
Jasmine Porter shined in Westport, Washington’s Clean Water Classic, placing first overall in the mixed juniors’ division and second in the women’s division. The contest is hosted by the Pacific Northwest chapters of the Surfrider Foundation.
“We’re definitely going to go back next year,” Porter told the Westerly. “The beaches were beautiful there and everybody was super nice. It was a really fun experience.”
Porter and her family traveled to the American competition along with several other local surf families and the crew made a camping trip out of the journey.
Porter said she competes in the local Queen of the Peak, Bruhwiler Kids Classic, Rip Curl and Tofino Paddle and Surf championships, but this was her first crack at a Washington-based competition and surfing against unfamiliar competitors in unfamiliar waves was daunting.
“At first I was really nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to surf…When I do contests in Tofino it’s all against my friends and I know how good they are, where in Washington I didn’t know so I was kind of jittery,” she said. “Before every heat, I would watch where the waves were breaking and watch where everybody else was surfing in the contest so I knew where I’d sit, but the waves were definitely a lot different. They were a lot more powerful than in Tofino.”
She said her nerves calmed once she got into her heats and she was thrilled with the results.
“For both my heats I got a good wave right off the bat so, once I caught that wave, I wasn’t as nervous,” adding she went into the adult women’s heat with no expectations. “I’m only 12, so I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to go out there and have fun’…I was super proud of myself.”
Porter said she’s been surfing her entire life, but didn’t take to it right away and may not have stuck with it if it weren’t for the encouragement of her parents and the comradery the sport created with her friends.
“My parents both surf so they kept taking me out and all my friends were going out and we just started going out all together,” she said.
“When I was really little, it was cold and I wouldn’t have any fun but I’m starting to get older and once I started to get better at it, it became more fun…When you get a really good wave, it gives you butterflies and you want to go out and do another one like that and you want to start getting better.”
She added that having friends to go out with is key.
“You have to get a group of kids. One person might just get bored after a while because nobody else is out there. My friend group; we all surf and, I think, that’s mostly because all our parents surfed and they got us all into surfing. My mom took me out and was pushing me out all the time. We’d go to small waves. When she could have been surfing really good waves, she took me out and she pushed us in,” she said adding Tofino is blessed with a welcoming and supportive surf community.
“I feel super lucky because we live in such a beautiful place with amazing waves. It’s pretty great. I just feel so lucky to be growing up here.”