According to a recent piece in a Canadian newspaper, Paige Alms will join the list of surfers using family heritage to try and qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. “The whole world watches the Olympics,” she said. “It will be a really unique time to showcase surfing.”
To this point, Alms has, of course, made her mark on the surfing landscape in big waves, winning the Peahi event twice near her home in Haiku, Maui. But Paige’s mother lived in Victoria, Canada on Vancouver Island (which technically makes Paige Canadian). Paige was raised on Vancouver Island until she was eight, when mom sold the house, embarking on a year-long sojourn that included Australia, where Paige got into surfing. Her mother then settled down on Maui and the younger Alms spent the rest of her childhood there.
Like Tatiana Weston-Webb, who just announced she’ll fly the Brazilian flag to try and qualify (her mother is Brazilian) and Kanoa Igarashi, who’ll sport the Japanese colors (he was raised in Huntington Beach by Japanese parents), Alms will try to qualify for the country where she was born. And that starts this weekend during the Surf Canada Nationals at Wickaninnish Beach on Vancouver Island. The Nationals are traditionally a qualifier for Team Canada for ISA events. No word yet on how the event will impact Alms’ standing for the Olympic team in 2020–but it’s definitely a start on the road to qualification.
The waters of the North Pacific are a little cooler than what she’s used to, and it’ll be a much more technical aspect of competition than the big wave realm, obviously. “I competed a lot (in small waves) when I was younger,” she said. “I know what to do when I put a jersey on. It’s about putting points on the board.”
Editor’s Note: We gave Paige a shout but have yet to hear back. We assume she’s in the middle of competition. This article was updated to reflect the fact that Paige’s mother was living in Canada but is actually from England.