The Fight for EQUITY

Women professional athletes fighting for inclusion and equity in surf competitions


Puerto Escondido Cup

July 15, 2019

Congratulations to Bianca Valenti! She successfully defended her Latin America championship title and won equal pay.


CEWS Letter to SLC: Jack’s Pro

June 12, 2019

Letter to the State Lands Commission executive officer regarding concerns about gender discrimination in surfing competitions held in the City of Huntington Beach.


CEWS AB 467 Letter to CA Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee

June 4, 2019


CEWS Letter to CCC: Jack’s Pro

May 29, 2019

Letter to the Coastal Commission executive director regarding concerns about gender discrimination in surfing competitions held in the City of Huntington Beach.


NOW

May 3, 2019

National Organization for Women, Hollywood Chapter rescinded their support for AB 467 and opposes the bill unless amended.


CEWS AB 467 Press Release

April 22, 2019


CEWS “Oppose AB 467 Unless Amended” Letters to CA Assembly Committee on Appropriations

April 19, 2019

The following letters were submitted to the Appropriations Committee in advance of the hearing on April 24, 2019.

  • Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing Letter

  • Homestretch Foundation Letter

  • Athlete Ally Letter

  • San Mateo County Harbor District Letter

  • Coastside Progressive Democrats Letter

  • Surf Club of the Claremont Colleges Letter

  • IAP Films Letter

  • Good Film Works Letter

  • Dr. Mary Larenas Letter

  • The Wahine Project

  • On The Water Front

  • National Organization for Women - Hollywood Chapter Letter


Brennan’s AB 467 remarks to the Ca Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, & Internet Media

April 10, 2019

I’m Sabrina Brennan, President of the San Mateo County Harbor Commission and Co-founder of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing. Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee.

This morning, I awoke to a reoccurring nightmare about gender-based discrimination in the workplace, unfair business practices, and the systematic exclusion of women professional athletes from competitions.  

Today, I’m here representing the San Mateo County Harbor District.  We issue a Special Use Permit for the iconic Mavericks Challenge big-wave surf competition, held near Half Moon Bay. Mavericks was founded in 1998 and the contest is internationally known for producing 30’ to 60’ waves and its event promoters are notorious for gender-based discrimination. 

The first Mavericks Competition was titled, “Men Who Ride Mountains.” Now, two decades later, women big wave surfers have still not had an opportunity to compete. 

It’s impossible to achieve equal pay in athletic competitions that exclude women.

Please read the March 29th letter from the Harbor Commission. We respectfully request that AB 467 be amended to protect athletes from gender-based discrimination, consistent with the Unruh Civil Rights Act. 

We urge you to address concerns about unintended consequences. Please close the loophole in AB 467 that encourages and incentivizes event businesses, promoters and athletic organizations to exclude female categories from athletic competitions, in an effort to thwart equal pay requirements. 

Please require the following: 

  • A female category and a male category for all athletic competitions held on California state lands.

  • Equal prize money.  

  • Category winners receive the exact same prize amount. 

  • No total purse formula applied. 

  • Equal logistical support for all categories (including travel related expense; airfare, hotel, etc.).

  • Equal equipment for all categories.

Mavericks is not the only professional athletic competition with a history of gender-based discrimination. 

Last month, women were excluded from competing in Huntington Beach at the Jack’s Surfboards Pro, a World Surf League 1,500 Qualifying Series event, that awards prize money and points. 

Women pro surfers are concerned about the scarcity of qualifying events in California, this inequity significantly limits their opportunities to make a living as pro athletes. 

Increasing the number of events and awards for women, as well as offering equal prize money, is the only way to achieve meaningful equity in competitive sports. 

Equal pay is only part of the problem. Please require that all State agency permits and leases prohibit discrimination. Please amend AB 467 to require businesses and organizations that manage and promote athletic competitions on California state lands comply with the Unruh Civil Rights Act. 

Unfair business practices prevent women professional surfers from utilizing public resources and coastal access. Please act to prohibit gender-based discrimination.

Please ensure that AB 467 provides the oversight necessary to stop decades of gender-based discrimination. 


CEWS Response To ASSEMBLY BILL 467

April 8, 2019

Support If Amended

CEWS supports Assembly Bill 467 if amended to include female categories, male categories and open/nonbinary categories in athletic competitions held on California state lands.

Please amend AB 467 to be consistent with the Unruh Civil Rights Act and prohibit gender-based discrimination in athletic competitions. Read our April 7, 2019 letter to the California State Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media.


Brennan emails ‘Surf City’ Mayor about Jack’s Pro Permit

March 20, 2019

CEWS co-founder Sabrina Brennan emails Huntington Beach Mayor Erik Peterson about gender-based discrimination at a surf competition permitted by the City. The Jack’s Surfboards Pro surfing competition held near the Huntington Beach Pier does not include a women’s division.

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Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath Introduces Bill Requiring Sports Prize Equity 

Feb 14, 2019

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), at a press conference today overlooking Cardiff State Beach, announced the introduction of AB 467, a bill that would require sports prize equity for both male and female participants in all sporting competitions held on public lands. Also called the “Equal Pay for Equal Play” measure, AB 467 is aimed at addressing long-standing gender pay disparities in competitive sports. 

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, a joint author on the legislation, also spoke at the press conference. 

Sabrina Brennan, representing the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, helped provide some of the historical context for the legislation. 

Sabrina Brennan said, “Increasing the number of events and the number of awards for women, as well as offering equal prize money, is the only way to achieve meaningful equity in competitive surfing.” 


Women's March in San Jose

Jan 19, 2019

Sabrina Brennan gave a speech about winning the fight for Equal Pay in professional surfing at the 2019 Women’s March in San Jose, CA.


CEWS Press Release

Nov 25, 2018

The Pe'ahi Challenge competition will run on Monday, November 26, 2018 in Pe'ahi, Hawaii. This will be the first big wave professional surf competition with equal prize money for men and women and the third time women have been invited to compete at JAWS.


SLC Meeting in Sacramento

Oct 18, 2018

Sabrina Brennan represented CEWS and made remarks on Item C27.

Meeting Highlight

The State Lands Commission, in the wake of California designating surfing as the official state sport, approved a lease to the World Surf League for the Mavericks Challenge, an annual one-day competition that attracts surfers from around the world. The lease requires multiple heats in the women’s division and equal pay for all competitors regardless of gender. This is a precedent-setting victory for equal pay in any sporting event held on state property. It is also the culmination of devoted work over many years and represents a defining, and overdue, moment in California on the important issue of gender equity in athletic competitions.

Item C27 – APPROVED AS PRESENTED BY A VOTE OF 3-0 (YEE-YES; VIOLA-YES; WONG-HERNANDEZ-YES)


CCC Hearing in San Diego

Oct 12, 2018

On Friday, Oct 12, 2018, Karen Tynan and Sabrina Brennan represented CEWS at the Coastal Commission hearing in San Diego.

  • Staff Report (see 3 yellow highlighted areas)

  • The Mavericks Challenge permit was approved unanimously with conditions that require a three heat women's division and equal pay!

  • In less than 3 years, CEWS won the fight for inclusion, the fight for a multi-heat division and the fight for equal prize money across all WSL global events.

  • Link to CCC hearing video, Item 8-a, WSL

On Oct 12, 2018, the California Coastal Commission will consider requiring: Inclusion, a Women’s Division, and Equal Pay!  


WSL Response to Incomplete CDP Filing Status

Sept 6, 2018

On June 5, 2018, the WSL announced equal prize money for every WSL controlled event, including the 2018/2019 Mavericks Challenge, in the 2019 season and beyond.

On Sept 6, 2018, the WSL submitted a response to Coastal Commission staff’s June letter regarding “incomplete” Coastal Development Permit (CDP) filing status.

June 28, 2018, Letter from the CCC to the WSL regarding “incomplete” CDP Application No. 18-0496.


CEWS Press Release

Sept 6, 2018

We Won the Fight for Inclusion, a Women’s Division, and Equal Pay!

The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, stakeholders, and fans are pleased with the World Surf League’s evolution to more equitable and fair surf competitions.


Hope Solo Sues the US Soccer Federation

Aug 24, 2018

On Friday, Aug 24, 2018, Hope Solo, former goalkeeper for the US women's national soccer team, sued the US Soccer Federation in California federal court, accusing the organization of paying its female players a fraction of what it pays their male counterparts in violation of the Equal Pay Act.

The suit follows up on a March 2016 complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, filed by Solo and four of her teammates from the 2015 World Cup-winning roster.


SLC Meeting in Long Beach

Aug 23, 2018

CEWS thanks the State Lands Commission staff for giving consideration to concerns about gender-based discrimination. WSL requested that their lease application be pulled from the agenda. SLC Chair Betty Yee allowed Sabrina Brennan to give remarks on the pulled item.


CEWS Press Release

Aug 20, 2018

On Monday, Aug 20, 2018, Gov. Jerry Brown recognized the importance of coastal access when he signed a bill that makes surfing our official state sport.

In May, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing sent letters to legislators in support of AB-1782. We are very please that the bill received broad support from recreational surfers, professional athletes, and the many businesses that benefit from this iconic California lifestyle. 


CEWS Letter to SMCHD

Aug 15, 2018

On August 14, 2018, counsel representing the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing sent a letter to the San Mateo County Harbor District requesting anti-discrimination amendments to the Permit for the Mavericks surf competition.


CEWS Letter to SLC

Aug 9, 2018

On August 9, 2018, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing sent a letter to the California State Lands Commission requesting anti-discrimination Lease terms for the Mavericks surf competition.


CEWS MAVS Proposal

July 23, 2018

On July 23, 2018, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing met with the World Surf League in Redwood City, CA and presented a proposal for equal prize money and requested a multi-heat women’s division in the 2018/2019 Mavericks Challenge. 

All documents provided to WSL at July 23, 2018 meeting


CEWS Letter to CCC

July 9, 2018

The Mavericks Challenge: Stop Discriminating Against Women Athletes, It’s Against the Law

Letter from Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, and Bianca Valenti to the California Coastal Commission.

Unfair business practices prevent women professional surfers from utilizing public resources and coastal access. The World Surf League has a history of gender-based discrimination.


CCC Letter to WSL

June 28, 2018

Letter from the CCC to the WSL regarding “incomplete” Coastal Development Permit (CDP) Application No. 18-0496.


CEWS Press Release 

June 25, 2018

Puerto Escondido Cup: Heaviest Competition In The History Of Women’s Professional Surfing

On Sunday, June 24, 2018, the Puerto Escondido Cup included the first ever women’s big-wave heat held in Latin America. Six women surfed one of the heaviest beach breaks in the world with confidence and skill.


Patti Paniccia's keynote "Women Making Waves"

June 22, 2018

Surfing Heritage and Culture Center's Gala


WSL CDP Application 

May 29, 2018

The World Surf League submitted a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application to the California Coastal Commission on May 29, 2018. The three part CDP is linked below.

  • WSL management was slow to respond to requests from CEWS for the application.

  • CCC staff provided the application within three hours.

    • Thank you CCC staff for your prompt reply.

  • The WSL CDP application lacks detailed plans supporting gender equity and prize equity.

  1. CDP Application

  2. CDP Application

  3. CDP Application


CEWS Letters

May 28, 2018

The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing is proud to endorse AB 1782 designating surfing as California’s official sport.

  • Letter in support of AB-1782 from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Assembly Majority Leader Ian C. Calderon

  • Letter in support of AB-1782 from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi


CEWS Letter to Mayor of Honolulu

March 15, 2018

Karen Tynan, Attorney for the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing


CCC Hearing

Dec. 13, 2017

Meeting Agenda (Item 17.5.a) and Meeting Video


Sabrina Brennan

Dec. 12, 2017

Sabrina Brennan is an elected San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner, an elected member of the SMC Democratic Central Committee, and President of Digital Fusion Media Inc.

  • Letter from Sabrina Brennan to California Coastal Commission Chair Dayna Bochco and all Commissioners.


BROWN GIRL SURF

Submitted on Nov. 16, 2017

 Mira Manickam-Shirley, Executive Director of Brown Girl Surf

  • Letter from Brown Girl Surf to Renee Ananda, Coastal Program Analyst - North Central, Coastal Commission.


CEWS

Submitted on Nov. 7, 2017

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Letter from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Renee Ananda, Coastal Program Analyst - North Central, Coastal Commission.


CEWS Press Release

Feb. 1, 2017

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Press Release: Disappointment for surfers regarding The Cartel and Titans of Mavericks double bankruptcy.


CEWS

Nov. 2, 2016 Presentation

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Presentation from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


CEWS

Submitted on Oct. 28, 2016

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Letter from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


SURFRIDER FOUNDATION National

Oct. 28, 2016

Jennifer Savage is the California Policy Manager for Surfrider Foundation

  • Letter from Jennifer Savage, Surfrider Foundation to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


BROWN GIRL SURF

Oct. 28, 2016

Mira Manickam, Executive Director of Brown Girl Surf

Melissa Morazan, Director of Operations of Brown Girl Surf

  • Letter from Brown Girl Surf executive team to Renee Ananda, Coastal Program Analyst, California Coastal Commission – North Central Coast District.


SURFRIDER FOUNDATION SMC

Oct. 27, 2016

Edmundo Larenas is the Chair of the San Mateo Chapter of Surfrider Foundation and a Director on the board of the Committee for Green Foothills.

  • Letter from Edmundo Larenas, Chair of the San Mateo Chapter of Surfrider to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Dayla Soul

Oct. 27, 2016

Dayla Soul is the Director of It Ain't Pretty, a documentary film about women who surf big waves and CEO of Elemental Tile Design.

  • Letter from Dayla Soul, documentary filmmaker to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Delia Bense-Kang

Oct. 25, 2016

Delia Bense-Kang is Outreach Coordinator for the Marine Protected Area on the Northcoast Environmental Center and Chair of the Humboldt Chapter of Surfrider Foundation.

  • Letter from Delia Bense-Kang to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Amanda Levett

Oct. 23, 2016

Amanda Levett owns The Vagabond’s House, Boutique Inn & Spa in Carmel-by-the-Sea and is the founder of Seeking Peaks, a water woman’s global network. She is a coach for Surf Las Olas, Surf Safaris for Women, and head coach and developer of their newest intermediate camp, Surf Mas Olas.

  • Letter from Amanda Levett, Seeking Peaks and The Vagabond’s House, Boutique Inn & Spa to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


CA Coastal Commission

Oct. 21, 2016

The Coastal Commission released their Staff Report on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Read Cartel's second Amendment included in the staff report, see Exhibit 9 (last five pages of the report.)


Beth O'Rourke

Oct. 21, 2016

Beth O’Rourke is a team captain and appointed board member of the Malibu Surfing Association. She's also a competitor, event organizer,  judge, and coach. Prior to surfing she competed as a distance runner, bike racer, and skier. 

  • Letter from Beth O’Rourke, Documentary Filmmaker and Writer SeaLevelTV, Team Captain and Board Member, Malibu Surfing Association to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Cori Schumacher

Oct. 19, 2016

Cori Schumacher, Executive Director, The Inspire Initiative

Three-time Women’s World Longboard Champion (2000, 2001, 2010), Women’s Longboard Pipeline Pro Champion (2009), and two-time ASP North American Champion (2008, 2009). From late 2001 to 2005, Schumacher went on sabbatical from competition, surfing in only two events from 2005 to 2007. She returned officially to longboard competition in 2008 to win the Linda Benson Roxy Jam at Cardiff, California. She ceased competing altogether after boycotting the ASP World Tour in 2011.

  • Letter from Cori Schumacher, Executive Director, The Inspire Initiative to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Brown Girl Surf

Oct. 19, 2016

Mira Manickam, Executive Director of Brown Girl Surf

Melissa Morazan, Director of Operations of Brown Girl Surf

  • Letter from Brown Girl Surf executive team to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


CARTEL

Oct. 14, 2016

Cartel/Titians of Mavericks—Griffin Guess & Brian Waters

  • Amendment application from Cartel to the Coastal Commission staff. The amendment requests a multiyear permit and includes Cartel's “plan” for including a women's heat in a 2017-18 event.


CEWS

Oct. 14, 2016

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Letter from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


Surfrider Foundation Humboldt

Oct. 6, 2016

Surfrider Foundation Humboldt Chapter—Delia Bense-Kang, Chair

  • Letter from Surfrider Foundation Humboldt Chapter to Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission Chair and all Commissioners.


CARTEL

Sept. 28, 2016

Cartel/Titians of Mavericks—Brian Waters & Zoe Lee

  • Incomplete 2016-17 Coastal Development Application from Cartel to the Coastal Commission staff.


CEWS

Sept. 5, 2016

CEWS—Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller, & Bianca Valenti

  • Proposal from the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing to Renee Ananda, Coastal Program Analyst, California Coastal Commission – North Central Coast District.


Sabrina Brennan

Feb. 3, 2016

Sabrina Brennan is an elected San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner, an elected member of the SMC Democratic Central Committee, and President of Digital Fusion Media Inc.

  • Editorial by Sabrina Brennan first published on Feb. 3, 2016 and provided to Renee Ananda, Coastal Program Analyst, California Coastal Commission – North Central Coast District. on Oct. 26, 2016.