One of the lasting images of yesterday’s contest at Honolua must surely be that of Steph, world title secured, standing tall in the barrel. A hint of a soul arch bathed in golden afternoon light. You could instantly imagine it on the wall of a Roxy store, Queen Steph, larger than life.
That she fell rather than make it out clean is perhaps emblematic of the women’s contest at Honolua. There were moments of beautiful surfing, moments where we saw how far the women’s sport has come and where it’s headed next. But Hanaloa’s perfection also shows every weakness in high relief. In the morning in particular, many of the women struggled as their boards chattered across the face and the wave’s power threatened to send them flying off into the next county. […]
It’s the unique burden of women athletes that they have to argue for the existence of their sports. If an event isn’t interesting, critics are quick to jump to the conclusion that women shouldn’t have contests and shouldn’t compete at all. Men’s sports, well, of course, we have men’s sports. Men are considered the default. No one would really argue that men’s sports shouldn’t exist. And yet, it happens all the time with women’s events. No one got barreled? Well, why do they even have a contest of their own. Or at least, so runs the argument. — You can read more if you like!