Brave the harsh climate of Canada's West Coast and you'll be rewarded with cragged shores that give way to some of British Colombia's best surfing. For 23-year-old surfer Leah Oke, the call of those waves drowned out the nagging of her California blood-line– she's spent the last 12 years surfing competitively– both against her ten siblings and for Vancouver-based Sitka Surfboards as one of Canada's first sponsored female surfers. Currently training in Panama, we caught up with Oke to talk ill-fitting wetsuits and what's playing on her iPod:
How did you get involved with Sitka?
I basically met the boys of Sitka though our passion of surfing. We would constantly see each other out in the surf and always had a great time just enjoying the waves. Eventually they asked me to join the team and the rest is history.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you've had to face as one of Canada's first sponsored female riders?
I’ve faced a lot of frustration finding proper fitting wetsuits. My biggest challenge, however, was and is still learning how to better market and sell myself in a male-dominated industry.
What's your favorite surf spot?
Bara Del la Cruz, Mexico.
Current favorites on iTunes?
"Candy"– Paolo Nutini
"I Made It" – Cash Money Heros
"One Love" – Bob Marley
What do you usually do when you’re not traveling?
I love hanging out with friends and family, snowboarding when I get the chance, hula-hooping (I’m actually pretty good at it), playing guitar and planning my next trip.
You knew this one was coming–what’s your favorite hockey team?
The Canucks, of course!
Check out more about Sitka and Leah at SitkaSurfboards.com