Hanna Scott Surfs for the Love of the Sport

The pro surfer explains how she made it happen

(Photo: Bryanna Bradley)
(Photo: Bryanna Bradley)

Name: Hanna Scott

Job title: Pro surfer

Age: 29

From: Victoria

Currently lives in: Tofino, B.C.

Education: High school diploma

First job after graduating: Teaching surfing and working in restaurants

Hanna Scott has a good thing going. She lives in one of Canada’s most beautiful places (the west coast of rugged and verdant Vancouver Island), she’s surrounded by a community of like-minded people and she gets to indulge her greatest passion every day—because it’s her job.

It all started with a family trip to Hawaii when Scott was 10. “I didn’t really know anything about surfing, but we all took a lesson and I was immediately just crazy about it—like, I already thought I was a surfer and was psycho about it,” she laughs. After that, riding the waves at every opportunity became Scott’s raison d’être, and she relocated to Tofino, one of the best spots in Canada for surfing, soon after she graduated from high school.

The past 10 years have seen her compete in and win numerous competitions near and far, including Queen of the Peak, a local all-female championship that was started 10 years ago to celebrate women surfers. Which is pretty telling about surf culture in Tofino—it seems there isn’t a whiff of the boys’ club attitude that has long been pervasive in the sport. “Here, girl surfers are treated like queens almost,” says Scott. “There’s a crazy amount of girl surfers, so I’ve always felt super supported. My theory is that because surfing is still new to Canada, we don’t have that older culture built in.”

She proved herself as one of the best in the country when she made it onto the national team a few years ago. And next summer, for the first time, surfing will be an event at the Olympics, so there’s a chance that Scott could be in line to go to Tokyo in 2020 to represent Canada. “It could happen, but I’m not holding my breath,” she says. “It’s also just so cool to cheer people on and to have been part of the whole process for the past four years.”

This may seem like an unusually zen attitude for an athlete, but it’s clear that competing and winning are just another fun aspect of the job to her. “I get way more excited about putting in the effort to go somewhere that I haven’t surfed before and surf different waves or really good waves,” she says.

The lifestyle has also given her plenty of opportunity to explore her creative side, thanks in part to a sponsorship deal with Vans. “I’ve been able to find a way to incorporate more of my art and music into surfing,” says Scott. She participates in surf films for Vans, and her artistic creations sometimes make an appearance in them. “I’ve always made random little bits of music—I play guitar and sing. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s really fun to do. Same with art—it’s kind of abstract, like, just a bunch of colours or little doodles,” she says. “I’m always drawing inspiration from being on the road, and I have my camera with me everywhere I go. That’s what’s really fulfilling—that I get to explore all the things I love because of the one thing that I really love.”

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