Everyone around here knows about Mavericks, the big wave surfer destination just outside of Half Moon Bay; and Titans of Mavericks, the invitation-only daddy of all surfing competitions. But did you know the prestigious contest was once called Men Who Ride Mountains? Since then, "men" and "titans" have been basically interchangeable...until now.
In October 2016, a big barrier fell as Titans of Mavericks, one of the world's premier big wave contests held in Half Moon Bay, announced that it would add a women's heat for the first time in its 17-year history."It's really exciting," said Bianca Valenti, a local surfer who campaigned for the change. "It's super important for the progression of the sport."
Despite the competition being cancelled this year due to financial difficulties, here are three local women who could make history in the near future.
(Bianca Valenti, Courtesy of Movemeant)
Valenti, 29, became the first woman to win a Big Wave Tour competition when she took first place in the Dive N' Surf Oregon Pro in 2014. The SoCal native now lives in SF and trains at Ocean Beach and Mavericks. “I'd be beyond ecstatic to get an invite [to Mavericks]. I love competing. The motivation it gives you—I love that, and I know other women do too."
(Savannah Shaughnessy, Courtesy of surfline.com)
Shaughnessy is among the few women who can say they've been directly involved with Mavericks—in the past as a judge, and this year, as an alternate along with her brother, Patrick Shaughnessy. She's also taken her fair share of beatings at the legendary surf spot (which you can watch, here). “It would be an absolute dream come true to surf in the event with my brother," Shaughnessy, currently recovering from a knee injury. “I think if I work really hard, I can be in the event. If I don't [get invited], it won't be for lack of effort or heart."
Santa Cruz scientist Sarah Gerhardt is credited as the first women to ever surf Mavericks. Footage of her catching a monster wave in 1999 put her on the map and in surf magazines everywhere. She surfs Mavericks regularly, and competed there in 2014 at WickrX Super Sessions, alongside Shaughnessy and Valenti. Gerhardt too home the title of Surfer's Choice.