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Competitors pose for portraits prior to Red Bull Queen Of The Bay at Waimea Bay in Haleiwa, HI, USA in October 2017. // Amber Mozo / Red Bull Content Pool

Competitors pose for portraits prior to Red Bull Queen Of The Bay at Waimea Bay in Haleiwa in October 2017. Photo: Amber Mozo


The Inertia

On October 1, the waiting period will officially open for the Red Bull Queen of the Bay – a first of its kind all-women big wave contest at the birthplace of big wave surfing, Waimea Bay.

The event is a long time coming and was actually scheduled for last fall/winter, but the ocean failed to serve up adequate swell during the event window. It would seem that maybe Mother Nature knew the historical significance of such a first would be even more monumental in 2018, the so-called second “Year of the Woman.”

There has been a number of breakthtoughs: Earlier this year surfing’s preeminent governing body announced it would offer equal prize money to men and women starting as early as October for Big Wave Tour events and  expanded the women’s Maverick’s event to a field of 10 surfers with multiple heats.  An all-women big wave event at Waimea Bay, the Mecca of big wave surfing, is further proof of the tectonic shift happening now in surf culture. One brought on by decades of hard work from countless individuals.

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“Banzai Betty” Depolito and Wrenna Delgado are two of those people helping the women’s game. The pair are running the inaugural Queen of the Bay contest. Banzai Betty has been charging Waimea since the 1980s and Wrenna has followed in her footsteps. The two have spent countless hours coordinating the upcoming contest, facing numerous hurdles along the way.

This winter, so long as the ocean cooperates, 25 women will take to Waimea’s hallowed waters in a gladiatorial display of big wave prowess.

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What’s more, the entire event will honor Hawaiian female surfer, Queen Ka’ahumanu, “the first Kuhina Nui, (as well as) other powerful Hawaiian women who have worked tirelessly to break down barriers in surfing.”

The waiting period begins October 1 and runs through November 21, 2018. Below is a list of the 25 surfers invited to compete for the highly coveted title, Queen of the Bay:

1. Makani Adric, Hawaii
2. Paige Alms, Hawaii
3. Joana Andrade, Portugal
4. Justine Dupont, France
5. Emily Erickson, Hawaii
6. Michaela Fregonese, Brazil
7. Brittany Gomulka, USA
8. Claudia Goncalves, Brazil
9. Raquel Heckert, Brazil
10. Keala Kennelly, Hawaii
11. Sheila Lee, USA
12. Blake Lefkoe, USA
13. Andrea Moller, Brazil
14. Kelta O’Rourke, Hawaii
15. Nicole Pacelli, Brazil
16. Felicity Palmateer, Australia
17. Emilia Perry, Hawaii
18. Polly Ralda, Guatemala
19. Momo Sakuma, Japan
20. Kiyomi Sheppard, Japan
21. Jamilah Star, USA
22. Jenny Useldinger, USA
23. Bianca Valenti, USA
24. Silvia Nabuco, Brazil
25. Laura Enever, Australia

The event will be live streamed on Red Bull Surfing’s Facebook page. For more info, visit: redbull.com/queenofthebay

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