WAIMEA BAY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Organizers of a first-ever big wave surfing contest exclusively for women need a life preserver to get the event off the ground.
Betty Depolito and Wrenna Delgado secured a city permit to hold the Women's Waimea Bay Championship later this year, surf permitting, at the bay known for big wave riding.
"It's the place everybody in the world knows about. It's the perfect scenario for women surfers to challenge themselves and each other," Depolito said.
To make it happen this year Depolito needs to find a title sponsor willing to put up about $150,000, and she's running out of time.
"It's really late notice that we got the permit. So it's a difficult situation to find a corporation that can do that that quickly," Depolito said. "We're hoping a good Hawaiian corporation can come in quickly and get this thing done because it's worth it."
Depolito has long wanted to feature top women big wave riders at Waimea during winter surf.
If the contest can land a sponsor 24 female big wave surfers from around the world will participate, including Haleiwa's Emily Erickson. She's ridden Waimea waves for years but never in an all-women's competition in sizable surf.
"Seeing it come to fruition is a beautiful thing. it can set a really positive example for a lot of the girls growing up. I think that's the main objective," she said.
Thirteen-year-old junior pro Angelina Jossa calls it an event she'd like to surf in when she gets more experience under her belt.
"There's a lot of men in big wave surfing. I know they've done a women's event at Jaws. It would be great to have one here," she said.
For seven weeks from October 1 through November 21 Waimea Bay will be reserved for the women's contest. If it can land a sponsor, the contest would be a go if conditions are determined to be ideal and wave faces reach 40 feet.
Depolito doesn't want "humongous" surf.
"Waimea Bay will be a very competitive event," she said. "Everybody is going to get waves out there. It's going to be awesome to see it if it goes."
"With big wave surfing I never saw it going in this direction. Even for me this a little bit mind blowing," Erickson said.
Over the past ten years Depolito's landed other city permits for women's events at Waimea Bay. This is the first one granted for the time of year when Waimea's waves are at their biggest.