Sanoa Dempfle-Olin steps out from her sister’s surfing shadow in Tofino
Tofino’s Sanoa Olin shows off her copper medal for a fourth-place finish at the Pan American Surfing Games in Santa Catalina, Panama, last April. The result earned Olin a berth at the Pan American Games. DOM DOMIC, SURF CANADA
There could be another Dempfle-Olin from Tofino on the podium at the Pan Am Games this month in South America. But this time it won’t be Mathea Dempfle-Olin, bronze medallist at the 2019 Lima Pan Am Games, but her sister.
Sanoa Dempfle-Olin, 18, made the Canadian team for the 2023 Santiago Pan Am Games, announced Wednesday, while Mathea, 20, failed to qualify but will be there in spirit for her younger sibling.
“My older sister pushed me and was an inspiration and mentor my whole life,” Sanoa told the Times Colonist, from Tofino.
“She set a bar for me to reach for. And I’ve kept her on her toes and pushed her as well. There are going to be a lot of competitions we are both at together.”
Perhaps even the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“I’m excited to be to going to Chile. These Games are a big event in the Americas and an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics,” said Sanoa.
She has returned from Teahupo’o, Tahiti, where Sanoa and Mathea both competed in the Paris Olympics test event last month on the legendary waves known as the Wall of Skulls.
Dom Domic, executive director of Victoria-based Surf Canada, said the Games selection is a breakthrough for Sanoa: “It’s the classic younger-sibling dynamic in sports families. Sanoa was in the shadow of her older sister but pushing from behind with something to prove and now has burst out.”
Also named to the 2023 Pan Am Games team is veteran Catherine Temple of Tofino, who at 47, is at the other end of the age scale from the Dempfle-Olin sisters.