HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new bill is fighting to allow female surf competitions to take place during prime winter conditions on the North Shore.
For almost a decade, the City has only approved permits for male surf competitions during prime North Shore surf season, despite requests from female contest leaders for equity. Bill 10 hopes to give more opportunities to female surfers who have had to experience discrimination in their sport as a result of gender.
“What has happened for a decade is unacceptable. Many of the best female surfers in the world have been denied equal access,” said Councilmember Kymberly Pine, who authored the bill. “As far as I am concerned, women have been discriminated against and I am proud to say that no matter what sport you are in, women will never be mistreated by the city again.”
Hawaii, which is widely considered the birthplace of surfing, once held major qualifying events for female surf competitions on Oahu’s North Shore. Pyne says this all changed when permit approvals stopped 10 years ago, allowing for only male competitions to take place. As a result, female surfers looking to qualify for international rankings had to travel elsewhere for qualifying events.
“When I started surfing, I was able to fly over to Oahu to qualify for the Triple Crown,” said pro surfer, actor and DJ Keala Kennelly. “Now, women have been excluded from all competition. I was part of the Commission for Equity in Women’s Surfing. We were able to achieve pay parity, but if there is no competition, it’s like getting a raise and then getting laid off. This is about equal opportunity for women; we aren’t getting equal opportunity.”