Women surfers’ dreams lay in tatters after permission was denied for the women’s annual event, The Women’s Pipeline Pro.
The City and County of Honolulu rejected the application for use of Ehukai Beach Park and Pipeline for the competition at one of the most prestigious surf spots in the world.
The decision to deny the applications of other groups as well as the women is thought to be based on a point system. City officials approve applications by established rules and there are only 16 days that are allowed for competitions during the peak season. Community leaders and City personnel to ease the concerns of local residents and recreational users initiated the rules.
The director of the Woman’s Pipeline Pro Contest, Betty Depolito said that it was “a tough blow for the girls that want the event and for me as an organiser”.
Betty Depolito stated that she could see both sides as she had spent many hours working on building the contest and seeing its major growth but was also once on the community committee to establish rules for the community. There is still hope in using an off-season day, but Depolito admits that this would be a long shot.
Women’s Professional surfing in Hawaii has been devastated by the situation. Larger surfing events hold few places for local pros to enter, yet the Pipeline contest was open to all women with a body boarding and long boarding contest built into the waiting period.
Faith Wenzel of The Association of Surfing Professionals admitted that “with so few women’s professional surfing events in Hawaii it hurts to loose any.”
Concerns are being raised about the future of the Women’s Event at Pipeline because the rules are being redesigned and appear to favour big money events.
Women surfers are in need of a giant company to support them in future events and with so many bright new faces surfing at Pipeline, they need a new spot to showcase their talents.
There are plans for establishing another event for Women surfers at Sunset Beach in April of 2008. Despite the event permit not yet approved, Depolito is hopeful it will.
With Sunset Beach a great place for women’s surfing, more girls are expected to enter. Room will be made for a Longboard and Shortboard, which are hoped to be asp rated.
Words: Rosalyn Gomersall