The Seventh Wave Canterbury Surf champs presented by Southern Wahine is on this weekend, south side of the New Brighton Pier.
As an ole salty sea gal who competes in the senior woman’s division, I find it quite refreshing to be part of competition that is solely run for females by females, with a little help from some awesome guys.
Rather than beligerant lads sniggering as the senior ladies paddle out for their heats, the reception to seniors at an all women's comp is quite the opposite. The paddle out back past the pylons is met by a wave of hooting and cheering from the top of the pier.
The Canterbury Women’s Surfing Competition has been held annually for 16 years. In fact the CWSC was my first ever surf comp at the age of 28, a late start to my pro surfing career. It was and still is a “ first ever “ comp for a lot of girls from around the South Island, due to its great vibe and the fact it's run by woman.
The very start of a pathway for young girls to live their dreams and aspirations to become successful WSL surfers like kiwi Paige Hareb.
The Canterbury Women's Surf Champs for many years was run by the all girls surf club Tubular Bells, with club president and then surf school owner Trish O'Rourke at the helm.
Trish has done an amazing job over the past 16 years keeping the comp alive.
This competition was and still is groundbreaking in the move forward for woman to be treated fairly in an essentially male dominated surf industry.
The CWSC has had a few changes over the years, the edition of senior longboard and first timers, girls new to the competition surfing scene.
Just 4 years ago the CWSC introduced the Teeny Wahine division, the first competition in the South Island embracing the 12 and under girls who were charging hard.
This Teeny Wahine division is where the likes of Ava Henderson and Estella Hungerford started their competition careers at the ages of 8 and 11.
Both dominating the New Zealand under 16 and under 18 circuits.
Both with a list of titles a mile long, Estella earning her place in the New Zealand surf squad last year that travelled to California for the ISA worlds.
The competition this year is run by a team of enthusiastic organisers care of the Southern Wahine Incorporated society.
These ladies love surfing and supporting all the girls coming up through the divisions each year. The society was bred out of a need for a stronger voice in woman’s surfing throughout the South Island.
Sarah Armstrong from Seventh Wave Wetsuits is a major sponsor and organiser of the event, if you want something done give it to this busy lady.
Sarah who not only competes, brings the day together and provides awesome main sponsor prizes which is super exciting for all the competitors.
Other local business that are supporting the CWSC are Sadhana Surf and house of Creativity, Seer Surf Crafts, Stoked Surf, PPC Sup, Perry Fins & Surfboard Surgery, Sticky Johnson, Curve.
We are so lucky to be surrounded by awesome woman who put on such a great event in Canterbury, leading the charge for all surfer girl clubs across New Zealand.