‘Women’s Waimea Bay Championship’ WWBC

would be first women-only big-wave contest

Guatemalan surfer Polly Ralda will be one of 24 invitees to the WWBC. Photo: Courtesy of Maria Fernanda

No, not a heat during a men’s contest: a women-only big-wave contest.

A group of Oahu-based women are on a mission to realize their collective dream of holding the first-ever women-only big-wave surf contest at Waimea Bay.

After eight years of applying for permits, contest organizers for the Women’s Waimea Bay Championship (WWBC) were finally granted one in early August from the City and County of Honolulu to run a standalone women’s big-wave contest in waves at least 15 feet high (Hawaiian scale).

But whether the contest will actually run comes down to a race against the clock: With an assigned waiting period of Oct. 1 to Nov. 21, contest directors Betty Depolito and Wrenna Delgado have limited time to finish securing funding for the event.

“Usually you are given over a year’s notice,” Delgado told GrindTV. “This year was different. The surf permits were awarded last minute. It’s a challenging situation, but Betty and I are honored to be creating a new event here at Waimea. We are looking for a sponsor who loves this idea as much as we do to come in and save the day.”

While women’s competitive big-wave surfing has had a few brief moments in the spotlight, the Women’s Waimea Bay Championship would make history as the first big-wave competition solely focused on women.

In 2010, a three-woman heat was folded into the men’s contest at Oregon’s Nelscott Reef Pro/Am (Kauai’s Keala Kennelly won), and in 2014, an eight-woman heat was held at the same contest (San Francisco’s Bianca Valenti took the prize).

Last year, during the Pe’ahi Challenge, a women’s contest consisting of two preliminary heats and a final was held to crown a women’s “world champion.” The women’s heats took place during challenging conditions caused by strong side shore winds. Keala Kennelly, Laura Enever and Emi Erickson all suffered knee injuries, preventing them from competing in the final. Maui’s Paige Almswon the event.

(C) Towsurfer.com 2017