For the first time in the history of the World Surf League, Oahu’s fabled North Shore hiatus Pipeline will host a Women’s Championship Tour event. The historic moment follows tragedy after a shark attack in Maui’s Honolua Bay suspended the first Women’s Tour event of the 2021 season.
According to Jessi Miley-Dyer, Vice President for Tours and Competitions of the WSL, the decision to switch the Maui Pro to Pipeline was made after consultation with Tour athletes who were determined to compete on the biggest surf stage.
« It can’t be emphasized how great this is for women’s surfing, » said Miley-Dyer For The Win over the phone from Oahu. « We’ve been advancing women’s sport in a variety of ways, from equal pay to having the same number of events as the men, and the natural thought here was, could we end this at Pipe? »
For the past 48 years, the Billabong Pipe Masters competition has been one of the most famous surfing events, bringing together the world’s best surfers for what is arguably the world’s most famous surf break. For almost five decades, the competition has only had a men’s section. Despite portraying the 2002 movie Blue Crush, Pipe Master has never had a women’s winner.
Top female surfers have participated in shows and competitions with a lower profile in Pipe before, but professionally there has never been a Women’s Championship Tour event. The World Surf League has hosted the Women’s Pipe Invitational four times in the past six years to showcase women’s talent. In terms of prize money and points earned, the women traditionally surfed Maui’s Honolua Bay while the men billed the winter swell on Oahu’s north shore.
There are both cultural and bureaucratic reasons why competitions along the north coast have been separated in the past.
« Pipe is a monster of a wave, » said Miley-Dyer. « If you are new to it, it can really be a beast. I mean, it’s dangerous anyway, but you have to put a lot of time into this wave. It’s the most competitive wave in the world. Without that experience, it’s like going to a tennis court for the first time and trying to beat Roger Federer. ”
It’s not that women are unable to surf the wave or that they’re too fearful, but that Pipe’s male-dominated culture was often daunting. The wave has always had an intense pecking order and thrives on intimidation, which makes it harder for women to practice at all.
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"To be completely honest this is a little bit out of my comfort zone but wow what an incredible opportunity to learn to push myself a little and surf some of the best waves in the world with just a few other women," wrote she.
The Maui Pro finish at Pipe follows the passage of a historic law on equality for women in sport by the Honolulu City Council and in the context of women's surfing history on the north coast over the past decade.
Councilor Kymberly Pine said the city’s parks and recreation department had not issued permits for women surfing events on the north coast during the winter season in the past decade, despite requests from female surfers.
Bill 10, also known as the Surf Equity Bill, now makes it harder to deny permissions to surf competitions for women.
The WSL was granted a derogation by city and state officials to complete the Maui Pro at Pipeline, and it did not need specific approval or the enactment of the law.
“The Council believes that equal opportunities to participate in and participate in sport and physical activity, be it for recreation, health promotion or high performance, is the right of everyone and that it has been in the past the activities of women have often been subordinate to the activities of men, ”the bill says.
Since surfing has grown in popularity, the number of permit requests has grown exponentially, but the number of permits has stayed the same.
« To make way for the growing number of male competitors, the women’s events have been eliminated entirely, » Keala Kennelly, 2018 big wave champion and bill advocate, told Surigible. “The women have not been part of the Triple Crown of Surfing on the north coast since 2010. That’s a whole decade of exclusion. ”
Councilor Pine, who co-authored the bill with co-sponsor and chairman of the Department of Parks and Recreation Heidi Tsuneyoshi, said the council did not know about the double standards until it was brought to its attention.
« You can’t give good answers as to why they didn’t allow women’s events, » said Pine. « I don’t think it was malicious, but at times I’ve found in government that people just hit the simple button because things are so overwhelming. Often the answer is just, « Oh, it’s already booked. « . ‘”
The bill was passed unanimously “to ensure a fair distribution of park facilities without discrimination on the basis of sex. ”
« I don’t think anyone did this on purpose, » said Pine. “But that’s why there is discrimination. It comes from tradition. ”
The WSL has never applied for a permit to Pipe for Women, but the league has attempted to obtain permit extensions to add women to other events and has been denied.
According to a WSL spokesperson, the WSL requested a fifth day of competition in 2018 to add women to the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Hawaiian Pro and Vans World Cup.
“This signaled that WSL had wanted to invest in women’s competition at the Vans Triple Crown over the years. All of these permit applications have been rejected by the city, « the WSL said in a statement.
An occasional emphasis on the surfing tradition has prevented women from having equal opportunities and access, particularly on Hawaii’s north coast. This makes the Maui Pro at Pipe a special turning point, along with breaking cultural barriers.
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World Surf League, Maui Women’s Pro 2015, Tyler Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons, Australian Men’s Cricket Team, Billabong Pipeline Masters, Hawaii, Maui, Banzai Pipeline, Sage Erickson
World news – AU – Finally, the Women’s Championship Tour will have a historic event in the pipeline
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