Include Women Or Don't Run Mavericks

5 Feb 2016 3

COASTALWATCH | Latest News

It's being reported today that the Californian Coastal Commission has approached organisers of the Titans of Mavericks, big wave event stating that in future years they must include women through an 'inclusive plan' if they want to continue the running of the annual event.

Each year 24 of the world's best big wave surfers (as well as 10 alternates and 2 wildcards) descend the 60-foot Californian outter reef break at Half Moon Bay, located about 20 minutes south of San Francisco, to contest the coveted event. Since 1999 the invited surfers patiently await the call and the ocean's deliverance of the perfect winter swell.

It's February now and there are just two months remaining in this season's waiting period (November 1st, 2015 – March 31st, 2016) and there is one woman alternate who could yet make history.

Savannah Shaughnessy is 22 and has been surfing Mavericks since she was 16-years-old. She believes she has the best chance to be the first woman to make the event - but that can only happen the a number of the priority invitees can't attend if the event is called on.

There is no doubt that Shaughnessy has the skills needed to surf the big wave event and be in contention for the $120,000 total prize purse. She'd be up against Australian surfers Ben Wilkinson and Jamie Mitchell and other A-listers like Shane Dorian, Mark Healy and Greg Long. 

In November, Jeff Clark, who is a Committee member for the event's selection is reported to having said that the event had always been open to women, but that the group had yet to see a woman with the skill level to compete.

His comment was echoed by competitor Grant Washburn who said to The Guardian, “There is a huge difference between the top 24 who make it into the competition and the rest of the group,” he said, “and the women are just not at that level yet. There are a lot of guys who belong on that list first.” 

Bianca Valenti is one of the 14 surfers who competed in the women's Mavericks event in 2015, the WickrX Super Session. She told The Guardian, “For me, Mavericks is more than just the one-day competition, but competitions advance the sport and if you include women, it advances the sport for everyone."

These women, including Keala Kennelly, have conquered Teahupoo and Jaws and live in search of the biggest waves of the world - just as the men do. 

Cartel Management, the event organisers have not yet commented on the commission's ruling, nor have yet shown any indication on how women will be included in future events. 

What's your opinion? 

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