Maverick’s Big Wave Surfing Competition Forced to Add Women’s Heat

Mavericks surf (Ezra Shaw / Getty)
Ezra Shaw / Getty

The annual international big wave surfing competition held at Maverick’s, near Half Moon Bay, California, was required to add a specific women’s heat to receive a permit from the California Coastal Commission this year.

A report released by the commission Friday about the permit, issued to Cartel Management, indicated that “staff intended to require a [women’s] heat starting in 2016-2017 and continuing in all subsequent years of the contest authorized by the amended permit through 2020.”

In addition to the main contest, featuring 24 invited competitors, the event will now feature a one-hour contest between six female surfers. “It’s quite simply the right time,” Cartel CEO Brian Waters said Wednesday, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “There was no compelling driver other than it was the time to do it.”

But pressure from activists and the public were key in requiring the change.

The “Titans of Mavericks” contest — once known as “Men Who Ride Mountains” — never actually excluded women. As Bay Area public radio station KQED reported earlier this year, “no woman has ever been considered good enough to make the final list of 24 surfers invited to compete at Mavericks in the unique annual event.” Several women have appeared in early stages of the contest, and one was an alternate for the competition in 2000, KQED notes.

One of the competition’s selection committee members said at the time: “So far, a woman hasn’t come to the table doing the stuff that men who aren’t even getting invited are doing.”

But activists targeted the competition’s weak spot: the need for a government permit. Now women will be able to compete, in what amounts to a separate contest.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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