First-ever women’s-only big-wave content contest looks to level the playing field, crown overall winner of Hawaiian big-wave season.

Today, Red Bull has broken new ground in the world of women’s big-wave surfing by announcing the first-ever women’s-only big-wave content contest. The open-invite contest will take place across all of the Hawaiian islands throughout the entirety of the 2020-2021 winter big-wave season. There will be $40,000 in total prizes on the line with $25,000 going to the contest’s top performer as voted on by a panel of surf icons.

In working to bring a new surf contest to fruition, Red Bull sought to create the ultimate egalitarian big-wave event that tested the full measure of what it means to be a waterwoman. Event organizers ultimately settled on a three-month contest period across the entire state, with filmers provided during big swells at three priority breaks–Waimea Bay, Jaws, and Phantoms. The end result? A contest that challenges any surfer to mix a mastery of local conditions with ambition and bravery to see who can be crowned champion.

“This event format gives a new level of opportunity to both the established big-wave chargers and the top-up-and-comers in the sport,” said Paige Alms. “Without the time constraints of a traditional in-person event, it puts a new emphasis on local knowledge and gives us three months to pick our days and ride the best waves at the best times. And with film crews provided for us, it removes the stress of coordinating with shooters and allows us to focus on our surfing.”

“Running a traditional, in-person big-wave contest has always been difficult under the best circumstances, that has only been made more difficult by current conditions,” said event judge Betty Depolito. “By creating a decentralized contest held across the state for a three-month period, we’re not only ensuring the safety of all of our competitors, but truly allowing a new level of opportunity to all who enter the contest. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most well-known big-wave surfer on Earth or a local ripper that not many people have heard about: you have the same chance to take home $25,000 and make a name for yourself. There are young girls charging right now who have a tremendous opportunity to win this event.”

The contest swell window will be from December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021 and film crews will be provided at the aforementioned breaks on days when there is a surf forecast showing a sustained 12-foot Hawaiian / 24-foot regular wave height. While competitors can work with their own film crews to catch waves at any break across the state and submit the clip on their own, all waves must be over 12-foot Hawaiian/24-foot regular to be considered in the contest by Red Bull’s expert judging panel.

That judging panel will consist of Rochelle Ballard (a three-time Surfer Poll winner and one of the most innovative female surfers ever), “Banzai” Betty DePolito (the first woman to ever surf Pipeline), Kai Lenny (the reigning XXL Overall Performance Award winner), and Mark Matthews (a three-time XXL Award winner).

The judges will convene from March 1-5, 2021 to deliberate on four awards: Overall Champion, Runner Up, Best Ride, and Biggest Wave. The Overall Champion Award carries a $25,000 purse and will be given to the surfer who puts together the most consistently fantastic winter season. All other awards and a fifth award- the People’s Choice Award–will carry a $5,000 purse. The People’s Choice Award will be voted on by fans at

All awards will be announced during a closing ceremony on March 6, 2021.

Leave a Reply