This is turning into a banner year for women’s surfing.

For the first time in its history, professional surfing is offering equal prize money to the men’s and women’s competitors at each of the stops on this year’s World Surf League’s championship tour. At the first event, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Australia, that translated into $100,000 for the winner of the event and $55,000 for second place.

Surfing is still just one of just a handful of professional sports to equalize the prize money. Judging from the level of competition we’re seeing at the WSL events so far this season, women’s pro surfing is rising to the occasion.

In fact, the battles between pro surfers Carissa Moore, Lakey Peterson, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Caroline Marks this season have been legendary and have become must-see viewing. Many heats on the women’s side of the draw have been more competitive and featured numerous close battles that went right to the buzzer.

The only bummer is the women won’t travel with the tour to Tahiti next month. When the WSL event gets underway at Teahupo’o on Aug. 21, it won’t feature a single female competitor. That’s a disparity in scheduling that the WSL should address as soon as possible.

Locally, more women than ever are finding and enjoying surfing. In fact, on any given day here on a good Galveston swell, you’re likely to find a growing contingent of women who are charging in the surf, sharing the good vibes and the positivity that should be the focus of our time in the water.

The changes taking place on the world stage and locally should only help to further support the next generation of young girls who will see surfing as a viable option for them as they chart their future, either in pursuit of a career or a source of enjoyment.

It’s about time.


The Texas Gulf Surfing Association has set a date for this year’s state surfing championships. The on-call date is Aug. 17-18 at Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi, dependent, of course, on having rideable waves down south that weekend.

You can learn more and keep up with the latest TGSA news on the organization’s Facebook page at or on its website at

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at

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