SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The opening ceremony for the legendary Titans of Mavericks kicked off in Half Moon Bay and for the first time there is a division for women.
"I think it’s a good opportunity for girls to prove that they also have potential and that they can shred out there," said surfer Crista Ortiz.
This major change comes after women surfers went before the California Coastal Commission requesting they be given a chance to compete last year.
'"Our intent in this event is not to put aside a special class just for women, but have the women go head to head with the men," said one testifier.
The C.C.C. told KION they directed Cartel Management, the company overseeing the competition, to create a plan that included women in their event
"I think it would be great if we can see your committee of five and your organization create a role for highlighting women big surf riders,” said Commissioner Mark Vargas.
The CCC said Cartel came back mid-October of this year with a plan without women. They were once again directed to form a women’s component, which they did the following week. Cartel said it’s something they've always wanted to do.
"Since the inception of Titans of Mavericks we've always had female competitors as consideration by Committee 5," said Brain Peters, Cartel Management Chief Operating Officer.
Six women will take on the massive waves reaching up to 60 feet for an hour for the share of a $30,000 purse.
"It's really nice because I compete in women's long boarding,” said Bianca Dootson. “It just seems like the girls are kind of at the bottom of the chain of surfers."
Women surfers we talked to also say they definitely feel a boys only vide while they're out there catching some waves.
"Some of the older men do cut you off and like give you less respect than say if you were a boy," said Dootson.
Some male surfers told KION they do not condone that type of behavior and they believe the women’s division of Mavericks will add another element and widen the appeal of the sport.
"Having that exposure and getting women out there I think it will really be encouraging for a lot of young girls,” said surfer Damon Franz. “To all the women competing, good luck."