Bianca Valenti SF Chronicle
Big-wave breakthrough: Female surfer leads Mavericks revolutionFemale surfer leads Mavericks revolution Without Valenti, in fact, female surfers might still just be spectators at Mavericks, the renowned big-wave break near Half Moon Bay, where they are finally scheduled to compete this season. In a sport with no calendar, almost no financial incentive and a hierarchy ruled by men, a powerful voice was needed to help women break through. [...] with a handful of other top female surfers, Valenti has created a committee seeking equity with men in big-wave surfing. Last month, women took part for the first time in a famed contest at Peahi (widely known as “Jaws”) on the Hawaiian island of Maui. [...] they have persuaded organizers of the annual Mavericks event to hold a one-hour women’s heat concurrent with the competition that attracts the top men to Northern California each winter when conditions allow. Surfer magazine recently referred to Valenti as “almost criminally unknown” in the big-wave community. “I can’t think of many guys who surf it better,” said Ryan Seelbach, a San Francisco geologist and one of the top big-wave riders in the world. To be an elite surfer at Ocean Beach, with its brutally challenging conditions and distant breakers, is to perform pretty much in anonymity. Very few surfers tackle the biggest days, and from a beachfront view, they’re just little dots on the horizon. Big-wave surfer Grant Washburn finds Valenti a kindred spirit. With Santa Cruz surfer Savannah Shaughnessy out for the season with a knee injury, Valenti is currently the only woman in the world who surfs Mavericks on a regular basis. Jeff Clark, the strongest voice on the committee that selects invitees to the annual Mavericks contest, is more plain about the freakish conditions: “It’s the craziest big wave on the planet.” [...] she said, Getting our own event is the dream — actually a series of women’s big-wave events around the world. [...] that’s just what Cartel Management, the group in charge of running the contest, grudgingly agreed to this year: a six-woman heat with a $30,000 purse, to take place whenever conditions are ideal before the end of March. Along with the three most accomplished female big-wave riders in Hawaii — Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms and Andrea Moller — Valenti created the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing. Another invitee, Hawaiian Emily Erickson, has suffered a major knee injury and indicated she won’t surf again this winter. Valenti and her sister big-wave surfers took a big step toward proving their mettle in November in the World Surf League’s first-ever women’s contest on Maui. Two women’s semifinals and a final were held on the same day as the men’s contest, and Alms was a clear-choice victor in 30-foot surf made more challenging by blustery offshore winds.

2018 World Surf League XXL Nomination

Bianca Valenti : WINNER 2018 Puerto Escondido Cup

World Surf League XXL Nominee

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