2022 has been a truly vintage year for women’s surfing. We’ve seen a host of incredible events, developments, cultural happenings and more as the world fully emerged from the pandemic. Here, we dissect some of the key moments in women’s surfing in 2022.
Moana Jones Wong Crowned the New Queen of Pipeline
The debut of the first ever Pipeline CT event earlier this year was one for the books, and it crowned not only a new champion in local ripper, Moana Jones Wong, but truly cemented her status as an iconic emblem of progression and change in the WSL. Our piece Potholes, Pipeline and a New Queen dissected the ‘Cinderella-esque’ tale of Moana, a local woman who took on Pipe’s heavy left-hand barrels with the best of ‘em. “Being a local girl who was born and raised a few minutes down the road from Pipeline fills me with pride and gratitude. I grew up dreaming about accomplishing this and at the time it was kind of an unrealistic dream since there was no such thing as a women’s contest at Pipe.” Moana is now firmly entrenched in Banzai’s history, following in the wake of Joyce Hoffman, Rochelle Ballard and Keala Kennely, and attests that “being named among those women is an honour. It feels strange to be an icon to girls and women around the world because I never thought this would actually happen, it was always just a dream. Now that it’s real life, I am in disbelief and just hope my story will give encouragement and hope to every girl and woman”. We’re currently waiting for the reinvigorated and jazzy lookin’ Vans Pipeline Masters to kick off this December, followed by the Billabong Pro Pipeline at the end of January 2023. The competitor line ups are a spicy mix of all-time legends, CT pros and next-level groms (most of our picks of the groms) getting ready to dominate women’s surfing including Bettylou Sakura Johnson and Caity Simmers are in the Pipe Masters roster) and Hawaii is for sure the spot to watch over the next 6 weeks.
Women’s Cinema Ramps It Up
A number of killer surf flicks toured Europe this summer after a bump in the road with the pandemic. From Minna Dufton’s epic tale of overcoming colossal fears personal discovery and healing recovery featuring the first Portuguese woman to surf Nazaré, Joana Duarte, in Big VS Small, to the brilliant Girls Can’t Surf documentary detailing the battle female pros faced during the 80s and 90s to make it in pro surfing against a sexist and bigamist industry. Lauren Hill’s The Physics of Nose Riding added a beautiful piece of cinematography to the line-up and RAW starring groovy lady logger, Ambre Victoire, is also one for the cinematic catalogue of 2022. Check out our run down of the ultimate guide to women’s surf cinema for the full list.
New Inspirational Podcast ‘The Drop In Sessions’ is Released
Kicking off in Spring 2022, The Drop In Sessions presented by Mermaid Gin, is a new female-focused series exploring the incredibly diverse tapestry that makes up women’s surfing. From the competitive trailblazers to the passionate activists, the podcast takes a deep dive into the sport through the protagonists at the centre of impactful change and progression. Talking to inspirational icons such as Keala Kennelly, Lucy Campbell, Kassia Meador, Holly Beck and Steph Gilmore to name just a few, tales of overcoming adversity, breaking down barriers, finding solace in the ocean and looking towards future aspirations, are all encompassed within these ten extraordinary episodes. Be sure to tune into the final spicy episode with Imani Wilmot.
Steph Gilmore Snags and Bags Her Eighth World Title
In an iconic battle of athletic prowess and endurance, tactical mastery and experience, 34 year old Australian, Stephanie Gilmore, who had already well-cemented her status in the pantheons of the world’s greatest, bagged her 8th World Title against 5 time World Champion Carissa Moore at California’s Lower Trestles in September 2022. Historically usurping fellow countrywoman and long-time inspiration Layne Beachley’s awe-inspiring previous record of 7 World Title wins, Steph’s latest trophy makes her the GOAT of women’s pro surfing. We were lucky enough to sit down with Steph on one of her first interviews post-win for The Drop In Sessions Podcast, where she told us on the day of her win ”It just felt like the universe was going for me that day. It was weird. Very cosmic”. In a candid, honest and fun chat, we dissected her win, talked all that’s her views on the current state of women’s surfing now, her future goals, and important questions on the absence of Brazilian women on the world tour. ”A question that I always want to know is where are the Brazilian women surfers? Because the Brazilian men are dominating the men’s tour. So where are the young women? What’s happening here? Where’s the disconnect?“.
Tyler Wright Gets Hitched
2 x World Champion Tyler Wright got her fairytale ending when she got hitched this November to love Lilli Wright in a beautiful Aussie ceremony. Tyler Wright has had a rocky road coming back from a debilitating 14 month virus that left her bedridden, but is back in full fighting force now on the tour. She has become an icon for many in the LGBTQI+ community after proudly coming out at the end of 2020. In an industry that has been dominated by homophobia and sexism (as we discussed with Jodie Cooper on our podcast with her, and Keala Kennelly), it’s a powerful moment for the two Mrs Wrights. Let’s hope men’s surfing can head in the same direction.