It seems that COVID-19 created the perfect storm for the World Surf League, WLS to follow the law and provide *equal opportunities for both men and women on its World Championship Tour events held in Hawaii. The women’s side of the tour has held an event on Maui that as traditional ended the tour, now that event, dubbed the Maui Pro presented by Roxy will be the first event on the tour. On the men’s side of the tour the Billabong Pipe Masters, held on the North Shore of Oahu has always ended their side of the tour, now this event will also be the first event of 2021. The bigger news is the WSL has upgraded its Sunset Open event to a World Championship event and added a women’s division. If that was not enough, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has gone digital for the first time with eligible competitors submitting videos of their two best waves each from Sunset, Haleiwa, and Pipeline for judging consideration. It has also been confirmed that there will be both a men’s and women’s division in this digital Triple Crown of Surfing. This will be the first time a women’s division has been held since 2010.
This is all wonderful news and no doubt it’s a product of surfing becoming an Olympic Sport, but credit must be given to North Shore Council Women Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who introduced Resolution 20-21, which urged the City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, to adopt new permit rules for contest promoters to allow more women to compete. The efforts of Banzai Betty Depolito, who has for years run women’s surfing events and advocating for more events for women can’t be understated. In addition to the efforts of the Committee on Equity in Surfing and Pro surfer Keala Kennelly.
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