Drop-in Sessions Episode 1: Keala Kennelly

Image: Alana Spencer

Wavelength’s all new female-focussed podcast sponsored by cocktail connoisseurs Mermaid Gin has landed! Led by Wavelength women’s editor Sophie Everard, the series will celebrate inspirational women of the waves as female surfing reaches its most dynamic and diverse era yet.

With Mermaid Gin handcrafted on the Isle of Wight, encompassing a deep-rooted connection to the ocean and the community surrounding it, they’re the perfect fit for this brand new podcast series.

The host, Sophie Everard, has been flying the flag for women’s sport for over 13 years, dedicating her career to amplifying the female voice, coverage and participation within sport. The podcast series will explore the incredibly diverse tapestry that makes up women’s surfing in 2022 – arguably never a more exciting time!

From the competitive trailblazers bulldozing down barriers, to the activists who have fundamentally changed women’s surfing for the better, The Drop In Sessions are a deep dive into women’s surfing through the protagonists at the centre of impactful change and progression.  

And who better to kick off our first session than the incredible Keala Kennelly? Maintaining her position at the forefront of progression within women’s surfing for over 20 years and redefining competitive limits time and again, Keala has single-handedly changed the sport of surfing and it’s culture for the better.

Image: Abby Oh / Red Bull

Keala’s list of accolades runs DEEP… Whether that’s during her 10 year plus career on the Championship Tour, finishing 2nd for the World Title in 2003 or becoming the Big Wave World Champion. She is also the first woman ever invited to surf the Eddie Aikau, win Barrel of the Year Award (including against men) and 3 x XXL Women’s Performance Award winner.

Having been nominated for an ESPY, Keala is someone who has pioneered and championed tirelessly and fearlessly for equality, helping achieve pay parity as co-founder of CEWS (Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing) and has knocked down endless barriers facing athletes from the LGBTQ+ community.

Keala has also been part of era-defining moments within popular culture, starring in 2002’s seminal surf movie Blue Crush and winning the first ever women’s Red Bull Magnitude surf competition….. oh yeah, she’s also a pretty kick-ass DJ too!

Image: Alana Spencer

This first Drop In Session podcast sees Sophie and Keala getting into the thick of key moments in Keala’s career that have fundamentally changed women’s surfing. From dissecting the recent debut of the WSL’s first ever CT event at Pipeline, to Keala’s role in pushing forward legislation that has meant it is now illegal to host surf events in Hawaii that DON’T include women, it doesn’t shy away from meaty topic matter.

Battling through some of the toughest moments of Keala’s life when she came out to the surf industry to why she wants to eat tea and crumpets and rep the UK in the next Olympics (true story), we go into the extraordinary highs and lows with a truly inspiring woman who continues to high-kick her way through glass ceilings and leave surfing in a better place for the next generation.

You can catch our official partners Mermaid Gin at the Spring Classic festival where they’ll be rustling up some refreshing drinks to sip on whilst enjoying beautiful panoramic ocean views – cheers to that!

Image: Mermaid Gin