Cover shot: Bianca at Nelscott Reef by Richard Hallman
The first female heat at the Titans of Mavericks was announced yesterday. But although the six who will take part are unmistakably chargers, there's one name that's missing from the list of entrants – sparking some of the Titans to speak out.
For years, Bianca Valenti has charged Mavs. We often talk about people pioneering waves, or surfers who become synonymous with a certain spot; Paige Alms and Jaws, Shane Dorian and Jaws, Laird and Teahupoo, and it's definitely, Bianca Valenti and Mavericks.
But, taking to social media, Andrea Moller asks, why hasn't Bianca been included in the event? ''It was Bianca who gave me full support to surf Mavericks every single year I went there,'' says Andrea. ''She was the one who hosted and taught me the safe way to surf Maverick's cold challenging wave. This is not just a personal feeling. Maybe no women would have been invited if it wasn’t for her fight.
''Politics aside, she is one of the top chargers at Mavericks, she is the local girl who has been making a difference for all the women hungry to compete. It would be like excluding Paige Alms from a Peahi challenge. Would that be fair? I know some guys understand what I’m talking about, pioneers are excluded, with the excuse that there are better surfers ahead of them in the list.
''But in this case, Bianca knows those waters and has caught more waves out there then any of us. I'm here not just as a surfer, but also as someone who wants to make a difference for the next generation. Competing at Mavericks is a huge achievement for the women. But please, let's make this fair.''
It's a sentiment echoed by fellow Titan Keala Kennelly, who told magicseaweed: ''I'm stoked to be included in the six women Titans, however it really doesn't feel right that Bianca Valenti was excluded. She has put more work into this than anyone and she is out there surfing Mavericks every swell. They have her down as first alternate, however, I would be cool with them adding a 7th woman to this historical women's heat as long as that woman is Bianca.''
Why hasn't Bianca been included? Valenti also set up the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing, along with a few others, campaigning to make sure women are fairly represented and has been outspoken about the lack of inclusivity at Titans.
Could this be some form of punishment for putting pressure on the organisers? Is it a political move or one last hurrah after the Titans' organisers were strong-armed by the coastal commission to include women? And you have to ask, what difference would it make to have six women, or seven, in a heat?
The six women Titans who will take part in the event are; Andrea Moller, Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms, Jamilah Star, Emily Erickson and Sarah Gerhardt.