Editor’s Note: We recently connected with Paige Alms to hear her thoughts on the progression of women in big wave surfing. Below is an excerpt from our conversation.
“Things are changing for the better, that’s for sure, but we still have a ways to go until women are seen as equals in the surfing industry.”
When I was growing up on Maui, I felt like the women’s side of the sport was always expanding. The women on tour were progressing every year and the prize money was getting better. Then there was this complete halt. They pulled Fiji, Tahiti, and Honolua off of the World Tour. That was over 5 years ago, and today I can proudly say there is a big change happening.
Now with big wave surfing, there are a lot more girls pushing it in big waves and are doing so with grace and talent, and the surf community is really respecting what we are doing. The industry is making improvements, starting with better contest venues for the World Tour, more prize money, more media coverage, and articles about female surfing. But we still need surf companies to back the women in big wave surfing and the girls on tour. There are a few without main sponsors and these are some of the best women in the world! We need support to progress the sport by being able to chase more swells and learn from different locations around the globe, just like the guys.
In regards to large-scale competitions, I think up until now there have not been enough women to do regular big wave events. But the whole drama over the Titans of Mavericks contest is just outrageous. They (the organizers) are still trying to say women are not as good as the men, trying to fight the issue rather than help make a solution…when in fact they are missing the whole point.
We are not asking to be included with the men; We want to have our own heat!
It’s just so strange to me because being from Maui I’ve had nothing but encouragement from my fellow surf brothers. I know all of the guys from Maui and fellow competitors on the world tour would be stoked for us women to have a heat – where at Mavs, all the contest organizers are fighting it. I really don’t get it.
I just went to Mavs to score some waves, and I’d say most of the guys in the lineup were super friendly, introduced themselves, and were super helpful. I think most of the surfers out there on a regular basis are stoked to see the girls charging.