A tragic, fatal shark attack – inadvertently – changed women’s pro surfing forever.
During the 2020 Maui Pro, the finale event to that year’s World Surf League Championship Tour women’s season, a man by the name Rob Warren was attacked by a shark while surfing Honolua Bay, the site of the contest. He died a day later.
The WSL scrambled. They couldn’t send the surfers back out after that, could they? Nope. Instead, they made a hail mary decision and moved the event to Pipeline.
And the women have been there since.
The world’s soi-disant “deadliest wave” now features both the men and the women, both in the recently wrapped Vans Pipe Masters (congrats JJF and Moana Jones Wong) and the upcoming season-opener for the WSL’s 2024 season, the Pipe Pro.
One of the hardest chargers on the women’s side at Pipe is inspiration sensation shark attack survivor, Bethany Hamilton. And after the event, Hamilton reflected:
“I think I ball cried for about a day after this event ended for me. But the crying was a deep crying that represented so much more than a surf contest.
“It represented all the trying and the things that didn’t go well in life.
“It represented pain that I face along side of all of the good and the beautiful blessings in my life.
“While this event didn’t go how I envisioned it and there was some incredible waves to be had.
“It was monumental for female surfing! The ladies rocked it!!!
“I’m proud of myself and all of the amazing women who tried and didn’t let their fears hold them back.
“I can imagine my life to be a life of simplicity if I let my fears lead me.
“But I choose to try. I choose to face my fears. I trust that Gods plan is better than mine.
“Today I’m a mother of 4 and those fears continually try to rob me of my boldest best version of me.
“But I continue to keep trying and showing up.
“And I will continue to trust that Gods plan is better than mine.
“You can face your fears too.”
Stay tuned for more women charging at the WSL Pipe Pro (January 29th – February 10th, 2024).
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