According to a recent announcement from the Titans of Mavericks Twitter account, there will be a women’s heat in this winter’s Titans of Mavericks event. The roster hasn’t been announced yet, but the inaugural, hour-long heat will include six women– and they’ll be vying for a $30,000 prize purse.
The announcement came on the heels of a recent proposal submitted to the California Coastal Commission by the Cartel Management (the Titans of Mavericks event organizers) for a permit to hold an all-women’s heat at the annual big-wave surfing event. The proposal indicated this wouldn’t take place until the 2017-2018 season, so the recent announcement came as a pleasant surprise to many female big-wave surfers who have been fighting yearly for inclusion.
“I wasn't expecting this,” says Ocean Beach charger Bianca Valenti. “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 know want us to be apart of this rad big-wave community.”
Historically, a few women have been invited as alternates to the Titans of Mavericks event, but none have actually paddled into the lineup as official competitors. Valenti, along with big-wave surfers Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, and Andrea Moller–who started a group called The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing– also recently submitted a proposal to the CCC back in September, requesting a women’s division in the Mavericks contest each year.
“To me, this a lesson showing that if you want something, you've got to speak up,” says Valenti.
Keala Kennelly, who’s been on the big-wave scene for over about a decade, is equally excited about the new inclusion. “I’m stoked,” says Kennelly. “I think this is a big win for women’s surfing, women’s sports, and women in general. WSL came to the party last year when they announced a Women’s Big Wave World Tour Championships for 2017 at Jaws or Todos. La Vaca Gigante by Oakley [a big-wave event in Spain] announced they will have a women’s heat with equal prize money to the men. The Titans are a little late to the party, but I say better late than never!”
The Titans of Mavericks opening ceremony will be held this Friday. The contest window starts November 1st and ends March 31.