We’ve entered the dawn of a thrilling new era in women’s surfing. Our stoked female surfers are riding the sponsorship wave like never before and finally receiving equal recognition on the big stage. With the World Surf League stepping up to match prize money and contest venues on both the Challenger Series and the elite Championship Tour, women can now earn some serious coin – and the respect they deserve.
These changes, combined with evolving attitudes about women’s place in lineups around the world, have propelled the level of women’s surfing to new heights. Just watch five-time world champ Carissa Moore threading an overhead tube at Backdoor Pipeline or Bianca Valenti nailing an airdrop at maxed-out Mavericks. They are truly narrowing the gap.
This is thrilling news, especially for long-time surfers like contest organizer Aylana Zanville, who had to fight tooth-and-nail for respect in male-dominated lineups in and around Santa Cruz during her formative years.
“I’ve been in surf contests for a long time,” says the big-wave-charging owner of the female surf brand Ola Chica surfwear. “I feel like women were always treated as second-class citizens when it came to competition. We got the worst tides and the worst time slots. They kinda squeezed us in when they could.”