PWA Athletes

Sam Ireland

Sam  Ireland
Age: 45
Height: 185
Residence: United States
Nationality: Canadian
Boards: Starboard
Sails: Severne Sails


I was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. With 4 distinct seasons it was the ultimate place for a kid into sports to grow up. My parents where really into skiing, sailing, and influenced me to try every sport possible. Before I could remember I was in pack on my Dad’s back on the ski slopes and soon after at 3 years old skiing myself. My brother first got the family interested in windsurfing in 1982 and we all started sailing it on the lake off our sailboat. I spent the summers paddling my plastic windsurfer out the creek into the lake to sail. This had one bonus, I could go sailing without having to get my Mum to drive me to the beach all the time! One race led to another and I soon found myself at the Windsurfing Nationals with a chance to win. Back then it was freestyle routines, triangle racing and long-distance racing. I miss it, as it was more a social and family sport then. I ski raced until I was 16 and at the same time competed on the National Sailing team for windsurfing. I had to choose a sport and chose the unfamiliar warmer sport. I tried out for the Olympic team in 1988, missing a berth getting third.

By then my focus had turned to short-boarding, and I could feel the pull of Maui and wavesailing. I put this on hold and decided to finish my University Degree and 5 years later received a B.Sc. in Geography at SFU, in Vancouver. During this time I learned the art of short-boarding and shaping off Chris Prior and honed my skills in the Gorge and Oregon coast. I’d be constantly talking to my buddies doing the World Cup that lived in Maui, and could not wait to finish school. As soon, as I finished, I moved to Maui and pursued my dream of travelling and competing against the best in the World.

It has been slow climb up the ranks, but if you put your time in, it pays off. I started off in Maui with no money, shaping my own boards, to gradually getting to work with the best shapers. At first you are intimidated by all the big names, and after a while you become friends with them and see that you can beat them. In 2000, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew what it takes for top 5 results in big events.


Starboard, Severne Sails, Ronstan, NeilPryde