Every year, women pushing the furthermost limits of big wave surfing continue to gain more of the exposure and recognition they deserve. It’s long overdue – the World Surf League only created a Women’s Big Wave Tour in 2016, with a single stop at Pe’ahi. But given the success of that event, as well as the one that ran last October, names like Paige Alms, Justine Dupont, and more are no longer relegated to stacking clips during free surfs. There is now some formality in pitting the best women’s big wave surfers against each other in competition.
It’s worth noting that the Big Wave Awards (née Billabong XXL) has had a separate women’s performance award longer than the existence of a formal tour – the entries for which never cease to disappoint. And later this month, either Paige Alms, Justine Dupont, Maya Gabeira, Keala Kennelly, or Bianca Valenti will win $15,000 cash for their efforts.
Unlike single wave awards, the women’s performance award will be given “to the female surfer who not only puts on the greatest number of outstanding performances in the most diverse number of venues, but also demonstrates a high level of excellence in water safety leadership. Both paddle-in and tow-in disciplines are considered.”