EVENT: Move Over Boys! The Wahine Classic Returns to North Carolina
The Wahine Classic, one of the largest surfing competitions for women and girls on the East Coast, returns to North Carolina Aug. 14-16. "This is a weekend when the men and boys have to move over," says Jo Pickett, event chair, surf teacher, and U.S. National Shortboard Champion in 2004.
"There are about six surf events on the East Coast for ladies," says Pickett, who also serves as mentor for the Eastern Surfing Association All Star Women's Team. "The Wahine Classic at Wrightsville Beach, which started in 1997, is recognized as the original and one of the major ladies' surfing events on the East Coast."
Last year's Wahine Classic attracted about 130 female surfers, most from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, ranging in age from toddlers to 65.
The Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic includes surfing and paddle surfing, with competition categories divided by age and skill level. "The Classic provides a venue for ladies to play on the beach, learn from others, improve skills, and build confidence," says Pickett. All skill levels are welcome, as well as beginners who can "borrow or rent a board."
Activities begin on Friday, Aug. 14, with registration pickup and "a meet, greet, eat, and surf evening at South End Surf Shop," says Pickett. Saturday's competition is scheduled from 8 until 4. Sunday is slated from 8 until 3. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Pickett expects most participants from 2014 to return including 2015 East Coast Surfing Association regional winners Julia Eckel and Leah Thompson of Wrightsville Beach, who placed first in shortboard categories of Under-16 and Under-14, respectively.
Liz Hauser, expert judge for the Association of Surfing Professionals, the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and the Eastern Surfing Association, will serve as head judge of The Wahine Classic.
"It is encouraging to see an increase in surfing, standup paddleboard, and other sporting events for ladies and girls," says Wrightsville resident Mary Baggett, co-owner of the Blockade Runner, host hotel for the event. "The growth of women's sports is particularly sweet after watching the inspiring USA Women's Team victory in the World Cup."
The Teeny Wahine division, for girls under 10 years of age, "is the most joyous part of the weekend," says Pickett, teacher and owner of Crystal South Surf. "It's wonderful to see the small ones, encouraged by friends and family, and many being helped by mom or dad."
Spectators are welcome. Beach access points 37 and 38 are the best entry points.
"This is the most fun thing we do all summer," says Pickett.
Jo Pickett, Chair
The Wahine Classic
Jack Viorel, Co-chair
The Wahine Classic