The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing is fighting for the rights to bring women’s surfing competition back to the North Shore of Oahu.
In Surfing there are many beautiful locations with amazing waves, but there is nowhere like Pipeline.
Known as the mecca of surfing, the little stretch on the beach on the North Shore of Oahu aka Pipeline has been the home of the last contest on the men’s championship tour (CT) for years. In 2010 women were barred from competing there, having to finish their seasons in other Hawaiian locations such as Honolulu Bay.
Now the women are no longer willing to stand by while the men get to catch the greatest waves in the world. The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing along with representative Heidi Tsuneyoshithe are now lobbying for a resolution that will allow women inclusion in the North Shore contests.
Any women’s surfing fan will probably remember the last scene in Blue Crush where Kate Bosworth’s character goes out and secures a monster ride on the legendary surf. The sight has been the motivation for women and girls since the early 2000s, however, in 2010 the ladies of the CT were sent away in order to make more room for the men’s competition.
As it stands now the men’s CT concludes on the North Shore with the Triple Crown of Surfing: Three contests taking place at Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline. The problem is there are only so many permits allowed for surfing contests.
The current permits are allotted to male surfers, both professional and amateur. The amount of male surfers flocking to these events requires a total number of days necessary to hold the contest. The downfall of a surfing contest is the weather is always unpredictable as well as the waves. Many times a contest will slot 12 days of permits to choose the best two-three to hold the actual competition.
Including women in the contests will double the days being permitted and will, therefore, be likely taken away from men’s amateur competition. The World Surf League (WSL) has done a remarkable job in matching prize money for both men and women, and although they both end their CT in Hawaii, the level of conditions varies greatly. Big wave surfing legend Keala Kennelly spoke to Surfer.com about the need for inclusion in the Triple Crown.
“7 or 8 contests on the North Shore and not a single one for women?” Kennelly said. “That’s not equal opportunity. The prize money is equal but if you never get an opportunity to win (on Oahu), 100 percent of zero is still zero.”
The Committee fought recently for women’s inclusion in another big wave contest, Mavericks. The waves at Mavericks in California are said to be some of the most dangerous in the world.
Women were barred from this competition because it was claimed their skill set was not good enough for these dangerous waves. The Committee along with lifelong Maverick’s surfer Bianca Valenti got the women into the competition with equal prize money.
The WSL has been a leader in equal pay between the sexes and this equal quality of waves should be the next thing on the agenda. Everyday women surf on the North Shore, they are more than capable of doing so and the lack of fans is certainly not an issue.
Young girls and boys who look up to these surfers deserve to see their idols standing side by side on that podium holding that giant wave-shaped trophy high above their heads.
The City Council of Honolulu will vote to pass this resolution on Jan. 29.