Committee for equity in women's surFing
It’s time women athletes had an opportunity to showcase their talent at Mavericks surf break near Half Moon Bay in Northern California and beyond.
In 1994, bodyboarder Sarah Lucas broke the Mavericks gender barrier.
Feb 17, 1999, the first surf competition was held at Mavericks. Jeff Clark titled the inaugural event “Men Who Ride Mountains.”
Feb 26, 1999, Sarah Gerhardt became the first woman to ride the enormous wave at Mavericks standing on a surfboard.
In Nov 2015, San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan asked the California Coastal Commission to require a women’s heat as a condition of a Coastal Development Permit for the Mavericks Surf Competition. In a 7-4 vote to approve, Commissioner Mark Vargas added a condition to the permit requiring a plan for encouraging equal opportunity for women at future events.
In Feb 2016, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS) was co-founded by Professional Surfers Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, Bianca Valenti and SMC Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan and attorney Karen Tynan.
At the Nov 2016 Coastal Commission hearing Sabrina Brennan and Karen Tynan represented CEWS and affirmed the request for a women’s heat. The Coastal Commission voted unanimously in support of requiring a women's heat.
In Nov 2016, Paige Alms made history as the first Women’s Big Wave Champion at Pe’ahi. The WSL Big Wave Tour paid Alms $15,000 in prize money. Her counterpart in the men’s division received $25,000.
At the Dec 2017 Coastal Commission hearing Karen Tynan represented CEWS and reaffirmed the request for a women’s heat. For the second year in a row the Coastal Commission unanimously supported the inclusion of women's heat in the competition.
In Oct 2017, Paige Alms successfully defend her title as the Women’s Big Wave Champion at Pe’ahi. The WSL Big Wave Tour paid Alms $15,000 in prize money. Her counterpart in the Men’s Division received $25,000.
In June 2018, Bianca Valenti made history as the first Women’s Big Wave Champion in Latin America at the Puerto Escondido Cup. The WSL paid Valenti $1,750 while her counterpart in the men’s division took home $7,000.
On July 9, 2018, CEWS sent a letter to the California Coastal Commission staff notifying them that the World Surf League (WSL) has a history of gender-based discrimination.
On July 23, 2018, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing met with the World Surf League in Redwood City, CA and presented a proposal for equal prize money and requested a multi-heat women’s division in the 2018/2019 Mavericks Challenge.
On June 5, 2018, the WSL announced equal prize money for every WSL controlled event, including the 2018/2019 Mavericks Challenge, in the 2019 season and beyond.
CEWS won the fight for inclusion, the fight for a multi-heat division and the fight for equal prize money across all WSL global events.
We Are The New Future of big wave surfing
Increasing the number of events and the number of awards for women, as well as offering equal prize money, is the only way to achieve meaningful equity in competitive surfing.
Thank You: Karen Tynan, Mira Manickam, Dayla Soul, Beth O’Rourke, Cori Schumacher, Jennifer Savage, Delia Bense-Kang, Sachi Cunningham, Susan Jordan, Mary Larenas, Edmundo Larenas, Krista Comer, Nico Sell, Amanda Levett, James Sanghyun Han, and Sabrina Brennan.