At a break called Jaws just off the coast of Maui, two female Australian surfers took part in history and competed in the big wave event at the women’s inaugural World Surf League. Laura Enever of Sydney sports a purple womens surf swimwear during the event and Felicity Palmateer of Western Australia in yellow. They shared a wave and represented women surfers of the country in this ground-breaking event. The event, however, was won by Maui local Paige Alms. It is unfortunate that in the same event last year, Mark Matthews, also from Australia, was crushed by a mountain of water and needed surgery and rehabilitation to fully recover.
The women’s big wave event is the first in the league. Australia’s Felicity Palmateer won fourth place. Finishing equal fourth is fellow Australian Laura Enever. The winner, Paige Alms, sports a pink womens surf swimwear during the event, is a statuesque and self-taught big wave surfer in the locality of Maui, Hawaii. Peter Mel, WSL commissioner, said that after seeing inspiring performances of female big wave riders all over the world led them to decide to include a women’s division in this year’s event.
Jaws, in the coast off Maui Hawaii, is presently dubbed as the world’s new mecca for surfers who prefer big waves. This break is able to produce waves of up to 30 metres high. To surf in Jaws, one must ride special boards custom designed for its dangerous conditions. The equipment is also fitted with an inflatable vest to avoid riders being held too long under water after being wiped out. Though this year’s waves are a tad bit smaller in height than last year, Palmateer and Enever was still able ride big waves that are not less than 20 metres high. In the men’s division, Queenslanders Jamie Mitchell and Josh Kerr was won by another Hawaii local, Billy Kemper. Kemper scored a perfect 10 by navigating through a giant barrel. Last year’s event was also won by Kemper, putting him in the 4th rank in the tour ratings. Current tour leader is the event’s fourth place winner, Grant Baker from South Africa.
Palmateer currently holds Australia’s record for the largest wave ridden by a woman surfer. The ride was recorded in 2015 at Cow Bombie in West Australia. Enever also currently ranks 10th on the professional circuit. Both women are already reputed to be unafraid to tackle and ride big waves.