Leilani Pickett, photo by Ed Potter
Wrightsville Beach, N.C – Wahines (wa-hee-nees), a Polynesian word meaning surfer girls, will compete in the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18. Girls 13 and up and ladies of all ages will compete in amateur and pro shortboard and longboard divisions during the two-day event.
ESA Longboard Champion, Jo Pickett, photo by Ken Blevins
Jo Pickett, Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) longboard champion in 2012 and shortboard champion in 2006, will co-chair the Wahine Classic with Jack Viorel of Indo Jax Surf Charities. Blockade Runner Beach Resort will serve as host hotel.
Pickett says, “We will have an elevated skill beyond what the girls in Wrightsville Beach usually see.” Pickett and Viorel plan to expand the reach of the local contest, attracting regional and national contenders from the Outer Banks, South Carolina and Florida.
“Girls have come into their own in the last five years showing their competitive edge by surfing aggressively in the traditionally male-dominated sport,” Viorel says. “It’s good for girls at this stage of surfing to see what the possibilities are,” he says. “We want to highlight the area as a great surfing destination for women and men, highlighting the talent on the East Coast.”
National Geographic Magazine named Wrightsville Beach one of the World’s 20 Best Surf Towns in 2012.
Head judge, Liz Hauser, is a Wilmington native that Pickett taught to surf at age 8. Now aresident of Puerto Rico, Hauser is a judge for the Asociacion Profesional de Surfing de Puerto Rico.
Gabby Viorel, photo supplied by Jack Viorel
Surf events include a competitive guppies division, age 12 and under, and the teenie wahine division age 10 and under, with support person.
Taking advantage of Wrightsville’s reputation as a SUP hub, the Wahine Classic will introduce two standup paddleboard events – a race and standup paddle surf. Qualifying heats in all contests begin Saturday, Aug. 17 with finals on Sunday, Aug. 18. Jarrod Covington, Wrightsville Beach Biathlon Champion, held in March each year at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, will coordinate SUP activities.
Following the Wahine Classic, Surfers Healing returns to Wrightsville Beach on Monday, Aug. 19. Registration is full, but families will want to witness this uplifting event. Founded in California by professional surfer Izzy Paskowitz , Surfers Healing shares the unique therapy of surfing with children with autism. Wrightsville Beach is one of only 14 locations on the 2013 U.S. and Canadian tour.
Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic registration deadline: August 12.
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Information and Registration:
Jo Pickett, Co-chair
Crystal South Surf Camps
Jack Viorel, Co-chair
Indo Jax Surf Charities