Leah Oke in Salted

This summer has been super busy for me with trying to juggle working and keeping my professional surfing life up to par. I spent most of July and August working 6-7 days a week at 3 different jobs: as a server/ bartender, office worker and chambermaid. Putting in long hours and making as much money as I could in a short period of time was the best way to get back in the water to do what I love for the rest of the year.

In the beginning of August, I had a 6-page article released in “Salted” , the new all women surfer magazine put out by “Surfer Magazine”. They threw a VIP Launch Party in Huntington Beach, California during the US Open. I had the biggest story in this issue, so I flew down to attend the event and get a few rare days of surfing in the summertime! It was such a fabulous night of festivities and I met a lot of my longtime idols in the female surfing industry and made many new and important connections in the surfing world.

I was also just in time to watch the best pros in the world blowing up in the final few days of the US Open Surfing Competition! Afterwards, I flew home to Canada where, upon my arrival, I got word that I had made it into the Super Girl Pro Competition, which is a 6-star World Qualifying Series event in Oceanside, California. The event was the following weekend and featured most of the top female surfers on the planet. I was totally not expecting to get into this event as I was the third alternate. But, a bunch of other girls must have cancelled, which meant I had just made it into the competition!

So, I went home for acouple days to put in a couple long shifts and make enough money for a plane ticket back to Cali. I went down two days before the competition started and tried to get into the best  surfing condition I could before the competition. It was definitely a difficult task, to say the least.

I was leading through the first part of the heat. I basicaly just had 1 big turn on my waves; No second turns or whitewater bashes, which, looking back, really would have helped my campaign. The other girls’ waves were a bit longer, and with two smaller turns they got the score and advanced. I should have been more patient and waited for bigger waves and  stayed on my waves longer. A bit of practice might also have helped, but I’d only surfed 4 times in the last 2 months due to work! It was a good learning experience and I will take what I learned here to future competitions.

Leah's Board

After I was out of the competition, I headed over to see my new shaper Jay Novak in his shaping room in San Diego. I was previously getting boards from another Sitka shaper, Udo Bastura, of Brazil.  It was such a good  experience to see how the boards are actually made from scratch, and to talk with Jay to figure out what we can do to make a board that will fit my surfing style perfectly. I even stood by and watched him work his magic and produce me a sweet little stick right before my very eyes! He had a couple boards ready for me upon my arrival as well, which I got to test out during the few days I had in California.

It was such a fun trip! I spent so much time in the water testing out the new sticks and realized how much I had missed surfing over the previous few months. Then it was back to the daily grind working long shifts at the Port Renfrew Hotel and dreaming of the next time I would get to surf.

It was right around this time that I tried out for a Subaru commercial in Vancouver. It was pretty hilarious! I had to act out being a stinky hiker and getting chased by a bear. I nailed the acting part and got a call back right away. They wanted to see me again, and in person this time (The first time it was mostly just for the camera).

They sent me and two other guys into this little room and lined us up in front of 8-10 producers and started firing questions at us. It was super nerve racking and I felt way too in the spotlight for my liking. I kind of froze up and felt uncomfortable and out of place. I didn’t really get to say what I wanted too, and for obvious reasons didn’t get the call back to shoot the actual commercial.  It was a good experience though. It’s always fun to dabble in new things, and at least now I’ll know what to expect if I ever do something like this again.

Leah's Quiver

I have now just finished work and arrived in Panama with a new quiver, where I’m looking forward to getting salty again and having all day to surf and train.

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