For decades, female surfers have been fighting for equality in the male-dominated sport of surfing. Everything from sponsorships to prize money to the sexualization of female surfers has caused advocates – both men and women – to join forces, demanding change. Recently, some of surfing’s most respected athletes, including Paige Alms and Keala Kennelly, took to the web, demanding that women deserve their own big-wave event. Today, those demands have been granted.
“I am so excited to hear the news of the first real big-wave women’s event being planned for next season,” said Alms. “I am ecstatic that the WSL is backing us and that Jaws and Todos are both options for the event! The prize purse is just a bonus!”
Peter Mel, WSL Big-Wave World Tour Commissioner said in a press release, “Over my years of surfing I’ve seen many women charge big waves, but the level in which this has been achieved these last few years is unprecedented. We are happy to give women the platform to compete and witness their contribution to the sport of big wave surfing.”
“The inclusion of a Women’s Championship was always a part of the master plan for the sport of Big Wave Surfing,” said Gary Linden, Founder and Vice President of the Big Wave World Tour. “Now that this first step has come to fruition, future growth seems only natural.”
Paige Alms received global attention in 2015 when she became the first woman to get barreled at Jaws (aka Pe’ahi), her home break in Maui. Her noble feat also earned her a WSL Big Wave Award and an ESPY nomination. Additionally, Alms has been nominated for a 2016 WSL Big Wave Award, which will be announced at the awards ceremony this weekend.
All things considered, today marks a major victory as we move into a more inclusive age of, not just women’s big-wave surfing, but women’s surfing in general. They have proved time and time again that they deserve respect and recognition in our sport, and we are all looking forward to seeing the ladies charge next season.