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Surfing world shocked and inspired by bold move to push for equality
By Matt Niswonger
IN A MOVE THAT HAS SHOCKED AND INSPIRED the surfing world, the World Surf League announced equal prize money will be awarded to men and women at all WSL controlled events. This will include the Mavericks Challenge to be held this winter at the spectacular big wave break in Half Moon Bay.
Sophie Goldschmidt, the WSL’s first female CEO, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It was simply the right thing to do. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves.”
The WSL’s next move is to get clearance at the State Land Commission’s next meeting, scheduled for October 18, 2018. That will hopefully result in a necessary permit for the Mavericks contest window to open November 1, running through March 15. Under the new format, there will be two five-woman semifinal heats and a final, sandwiched around the men’s heats on contest day. It shouldn’t be long before the entry list and prize money are revealed. This isn’t a big-money sport — the winner’s prize for both men and women isn’t expected to be more than $25,000 — but at least there will be equality.
Bianca Valenti, Co-Founder of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS) has been working tirelessly for years for this day and has even faced retaliation for speaking in support of gender equality at Mavericks competitions. “Paying men and women equally is about accountability. I’m glad the WSL is choosing to be on the right side of history,” she stated upon hearing the news.
Adventure Sports Journal will provide ongoing coverage of the 2018/2019 Mavericks season and more coverage of this story as it unfolds.