Update: The Wahine Classic has relocated to the Carolina Beach pier in 2020, according to Jo Pickett, the event organizer.
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The Wahine Classic, North Carolina’s longest-running surf event for women and girls, is set to return to Wrightsville Beach in August.
The contest is open to lady surfers of all ages, competitors will include amateurs, professionals, and teenie-wahines.
“The mission of Wahine Classic is to empower girls of all ages, build their self-confidence and self-esteem, and promote physical, mental, and emotional wellness,” Jo Pickett, event organizer, said. “The atmosphere is friendly and enjoyable, where many girls get their start and their first taste of surfing competition. Everybody’s happy and laughing.”
“Competing with all girls creates a fun atmosphere where we can be competitive but become even better friends,” said Callie Hertz of Wilmington, winner of three Wahine Classic titles in 2019 (Junior Women Shortboard, Girls Under 16 Shortboard, and Junior Women Longboard). “If it hadn’t been for the Wahine Classic, I am not sure I would have gotten into competitive surfing.”
“2017 was my first year to compete in the Wahine Classic,” added Hertz. “That was my first surf contest ever. I’m really excited to compete again this year. I know there will be even more girls, which is always a good thing. The encouraging vibes at the Wahine Classic helped me gain the confidence to compete in other surf contests.”
“It is promising to see surfing and more watersports opportunities for ladies and girls,” said Mary Baggett, co-owner of host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort. “With surfing now an Olympic sport, one day, we hope to see our North Carolina Wahine Classic girls on the podium wearing gold, silver, or bronze.”
“The health and safety of our participants and spectators are of paramount importance,” said Pickett. “All athletes will be provided face masks and required to comply with local and state safety regulations to combat the spread of COVID-19.”
Participants required to wear face masks and to practice social distancing.
Competitive sports for the 2020 Wahine Classic include shortboard, longboard, standup paddleboard, and soft top. Divisions include guppies, girls, junior women, women, professionals, and the ever-popular teenie-wahine. Check the Wahine Classic website for a breakout of the competitive sports by division.
Division winners will receive prizes contributed by local, national, and international businesses. A cash prize is provided in the Pro Divisions. Several lucky recipients will win a surf trip to Costa Rica, courtesy of Jo Pickett, the event’s organizer, and Crystal South Surf Community.
Over 25 sponsors make the Wahine Classic possible, including Marine Warehouse Center, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Oceanic Restaurant, and the Crystal South Surf Community.
Co-directors of the Wahine Classic are Amy Rose, Mid-Atlantic regional director of the Eastern Surfing Association, and Mary Ann Mangiacapre, former competition director of the Eastern Surfing Association. Other members of the team (not all-inclusive) include Will McEachern, event announcer; Craig Newkirk, EMT, beach marshal, and set up; Gina Gray, tabulator; Johnny Langone, scaffolding; and, Ed Potter, event photographer. Event judges are Jesse Heter, Trevor Francis, Alexander Harris, Ken Roberts, and Bradley Rose. 2020 Ambassadors include Roxy Chaney, Callie Summerlin, Delilah Hutchins, Samantha Newkirk, Leah Thompson, and Callie Hertz.
“We’re very proud of all the girls participating each year in the Wahine Classic,” said Pickett. “As the young girls become teenagers and move into their 20s, their accomplishments are impressive. Many will keep the ocean an important part of their lives.”
“At 16, I am figuring out my long-term goals,” Hertz said. “Whatever I do, I hope that surfing will be a big part of it.”