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Photo: Carlos Vargas

The Inertia

Earlier this year, the WSL acquired the rights to add Maverick’s as a stop on the Big Wave Tour. On Wednesday, they recieved final approval from the Coastal Commission to open an event windown from January 3rd, 2018 to February 28th, 2018. Then, on Thursday, they announced a roster of 21 men, six women, and a list of alternate surfers that will be competing.

Having Maverick’s on the Big Wave Tour could be considered a bit of a saving grace for the profile and notoriety of the wave itself, after the Titans of Maverick’s contest has taken the big wave community on a roller coaster ride of lawsuits and bickering until it was announced earlier this year that Titans would be cancelled altogether.

“Mavericks is the crown jewel of Big Wave surfing and the tour,” said Nic Lamb, who won the 2016 Titans of Maverick’s. “It’s the only California big wave venue on the tour and perhaps the most feared. I’m excited at the direction we’re headed. It was only a matter of time for the women. I couldn’t be more excited to watch those heats and I’ll definitely be front row glued to the action.”

For the past two years, the inclusion of women in the Titans event was a source of major controversy. Now, Maverick’s will be host to the WSL’s second Women’s Big Wave Tour Challenge, joining Pe’ahi, which was won by Paige Alms in 2016 and 2017.


“Having the addition of the Mavericks event on the Big Wave Tour is a huge thing for the men and women,” Alms told the WSL. “It’s going to be an amazing opportunity to see another big wave spot, one of the best in the world, and have an empty lineup with the best surfers, best conditions, and the best waves.”

“The darkness,” Keala Kennelly told The Inertia when asked what makes Maverick’s so unique when compared to other notable big waves, “…when you wipe out at Maverick’s and get pushed deep underwater it’s black like midnight and absolutely terrifying. I’d never experienced anything like that.”

Alms and Kennelly will be joined by Justine Dupont, Bianca Valenti, Sarah Gerhardt, and Emi Erickson, with Jamilah Star, Andrea Moller, and Wrenna Delgado listed as event alternates. Dupont, Valenti, and Moller were also competitors in October’s Pe’ahi Challenge.

“I am so happy to be part of the adventure,” Dupont commented. “It is a great pleasure to be able to have two stops on the tour for the girls this year. I am so excited about the chance to paddle out there on a perfect day with 5 other girls.”

In all, the men and women will be competing for their pieces of a $130,000 purse at Mav’s. So now we just sit and wait (and hope) for waves. The entire roster of men and women’s invitees, including alternates, is as follows:

WSL Big Wave Tour Top Ten Seeds
Grant Baker
Pedro Calado
Greg Long
Jamie Mitchell
Billy Kemper
Nic Lamb
Will Skudin
João De Macedo
Cristian Merello
Kai Lenny

Injury Wildcard

Makuakai Rothman

BWA Performer of the Year Qualifiers

Lucas Chianca
Francisco Porcella
Tom Lowe
Peter Mel

Mavericks Event Invitees

Travis Payne
Tyler Fox
Anthony Tashnick
Ben Andrews
Jason Stark
Pat Shaughnessy

WSL Big Wave Tour Invitees
Three to be selected on Green Light

BWA Performer of the Year Invitee Alternates
Nathan Florence
Alex Botelho
Jojo Roper

Mavericks Event Invitee Alternates
Ben Wilkinson
Nathan Fletcher
Ryan Seelbach
Matt Becker
Colin Dwyer
Luca Padua

2017/18 BWT Women’s Mavericks Challenge Competitors:

Paige Alms
Keala Kennelly
Justine Dupont
Bianca Valenti
Sarah Gerhardt
Emily Erickson


Jamilah Star
Andrea Moller
Wrenna Delgado

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