Erin Brooks Greases Landing On Canadian Citizenship Reversal, Has One Event Left To Qualify For Olympics
“I was super emotional because it felt like it took forever.”
Sixteen-year-old Stab High Ladybirds winner and 2022 World Junior Champion Erin Brooks has obtained Canadian citizenship, making her eligible to fly the maple flag in the Paris Olympics. Born in Texas and raised in Hawaii, Brooks has familial connections to Canada through her American father, Jeff Brooks, a dual citizen, and her Montreal-born grandfather.
A few months back Brooks’s citizenship application was rejected due to her not meeting specific criteria, including statelessness, special hardship, or exceptional services to Canada. “Getting rejected never feels good,” said Erin, who was left ineligible to compete for her country in the Pan Am Games and ISA World Championships by the ISA, pending proof of her Canadian citizenship.
In December her luck turned with a new Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruling, deeming it unconstitutional to deny citizenship to children of foreign-born Canadians raised abroad. The Brooks family reapplied under a hardship status, expedited by the Immigration Department’s recommendation, and greased the landing on the decision’s reversal.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee actually had a law firm working on Erin’s behalf since the rejection,” Jeff Brooks told Stab. “They call her MP Jenny Kwan and she’s a member of parliament. Her and Don Chapman from Lost Canadians started working with the immigration minister’s office specifically on this issue, but Erin’s was one of them that they paid special attention to. The hardship status definitely sped things up to help it get through… The crazy thing is if we would’ve put in her paperwork when she was a baby, she should’ve been fine. I didn’t realize they changed the law.”
Erin has one event where she can qualify for the Paris 2024 games held in Teahupo’o – the ISA World Championships held in Puerto Rico at the reefbreaks of Margara and the twin breaks of El Pico and Rastrial. Both offer solid tubes, mainly lefts.
“I believe there’s eight spots available at this event,” continues Jeff. “Erin finished second at the last ISA games in El Salvador, and that would’ve given her a spot if it was happening now. In Puerto Rico if she finishes top eight, she knows she’s good for a start no matter what.”
With her citizenship now locked, Brooks’s path to Olympic qualification is clear. “I was super emotional when I found out because it felt like forever, but I’m really glad it got finished and I’m really excited to be competing again for Canada,” said Erin, who just finished 5th in the World Juniors held in Oceanside and came runner-up in the 2023 SSOTY poll in the junior female category.
“I personally wasn’t raised as a spoiled surf prodigy, so I’ve never been in Tahiti to date. Erin’s been twice,” said Jeff. “She went when she was 11 and 13. But really she cut her teeth more on big barreling waves, obviously at Pipeline and Kandui and all around the Indo region.”
Remember when she made the Rippy Padang Cup Invitational finals against two guys called Mega and Clay Marzo in 2022? Crazy.
Erin views goofyfoot Vahine Fierro as the woman to beat in Tahiti. “Molly Picklum and Carissa Moore are also super gnarly on their backhand in big left hand barrels.”
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