Mavericks Surfing Contest expands to Include Women for the First Time

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On October 19, 2016, history was made! The Mavericks Surfing Contest announced that the famous surfing contest will be open to Women for the first time, ever. This is a great development to take notice of, especially if you are looking to learn how to leverage your skills for success as these women have done. Typically driven and savvy women who go after their goals and achieve them have truly inspired us, and that’s one of the reasons why we created these top 5 strategies to Be a Woman of Action.
“We believe that it’s time for the women athletes to be given an opportunity to compete in a women’s division at Mavericks,” said Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, and Bianca Valenti.


picture credit: Women are giving these guys a run for their money. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Women have been taking off on some of the world’s biggest, scariest waves for years. But virtually none of them could compete in professional events since the sport’s largest competitions remained closed to female surfers. That era has likely come to an end. On Oct. 19, the organizers of the invite-only competition at Mavericks announced its first women’s heat, marking what is likely to become a permanent feature of the sport.

Located near the northern California town of Half Moon Bay, Mavericksis one of surfing’s most monstrous breaks. Waves regularly top 25 feet. Submarine canyons channel deep Pacific swells onto a reef break about two-miles from shore. Frigid water, steep wave faces, and a pounding surf zone make it one of the most daunting and lethal breaks in the world for pro surfers.

Despite the announcement, organizers of the Titans of Mavericks competition are facing criticism for welcoming women after mounting pressure from the California Coastal Commission. In 2015, the commission granted the organizers a one-year permit on the condition that women be included in future events so that public resources were not used for “exclusionary” activities…The organizers’ initial proposals for women’s “outreach” and an all-male selection committee were blasted by the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing. “They are currently enacting a flawed and prejudicial selection process that puts women athletes at a competitive disadvantage and an economic disadvantage,” they wrote in a letter to the commission. “This privilege must be stopped.”
The women’s event will include six surfers and feature a $30,000 prize (equal to the top earnings of the men’s winner last year). It’s only the second big-wave competition open to women at the moment. Until now, women have only been invited to a single, all-women’s heat at the World Surf League’s Oregon Challenge in 2011 and 2014, reports Surfer Magazine. Another competition held in Pe’ahi, Hawaii or Todos Santos, Mexico (based on conditions) will include a regular women’s event alongside the men’s.
“We got a little taste of big-wave competition in 2014, but it just fizzled out,” big-wave surfer Bianca Valenti, a member of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, told Surfer Magazine. “Being a part of a big-wave event isn’t just something I’ve been thinking about for a year or two. It’s been a dream for a long time.”

Women successfully fought their way into the legendary Mavericks big-wave-surfing competition

Michael J. Coren

Women have never competed in the 15-year history of the event, although several women regularly surf where the competition is held off Pillar Point.
The announcement came less than a week after Cartel Management, which took over the Mavericks competition in mid-2014, submitted an amended permit application that included no plans for women’s-only heat this year. Their proposal had the first women’s heat starting next year, for the 2017-18 contest.
Last November, the Coastal Commission voted to require contest organizers to include women as a condition of approval for any future event permits.
Many female surfers wanted that inclusion to come in the form of a women’s-only heat. Four of those surfers founded a group called, The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing earlier this year and they submitted a proposal for what a women’s heat would look like.

“If a woman is hitting the criteria, then they’re going to surf their way into the contest,” said Darryl “Flea” Virostko earlier this year. Virostko has won the contest three times, and is now serving on Committee 5, the group that selects the 24 surfers invited to the event.
Despite the Coastal Commission’s vote last year, plans for this year’s competition did not originally include women. So, this week’s announcement to have women compete a year earlier than expected came as a surprise, even to those involved in the debate.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Valenti told Surfer Mag. “But I think it’s awesome. I’m just excited to see the women’s side of the sport strengthen. It felt weird always asking for them to let us women in. So it feels great knowing they now want us to be a part of this big-wave community.”
Details about the new women’s heat are still forthcoming, and organizers did not respond to requests for additional comment.
What we do know is that the Committee 5 will invite six female surfers to compete by by Nov. 1st. The women’s event will include two semi-finals and a final — currently planned to be held in between the men’s heats. They will compete for $30,000.

By Kelly O’Mara
Original article here


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