Celebrating Female Surfing at the Ocean Queen Classic

Published on 08/05/2024

This year (2024), Woonona Boardriders Club created the Illawarra’s first invitational all female surf event! Club President Marc Robson had a vision of creating a progressive club. Over the past 2 years the club has grown from 4 female members to 40.

Kirby the women’s coordinator at Woonona boardriders club, co-directed the event alongside club member and ex professional surfer Yvonne Turner. 

“We created this event as most competitions in our region are all male or predominantly male,” said Kirby.

“We have some really talented women and girls in our region and wanted to showcase their talents. The money they won from the event can be used to support them in their competitive surfing journey, with the winner in the open taking home $3k.

“We also see it to be important that competitions like this exist to create a stepping stone between boardriders club events and the professional series, Yvonne felt the need for this before her time on the tour.”

This event will attract more females to the sport, showing the girls they are supported. This allows female surfers to create connections with other like-minded girls in the area whilst giving them the opportunity to take their surfing more seriously.

Sunday May 5th was a go ahead, and the rain didn’t stop anyone! With 16 Junior Girls, 24 Open Women and an all-star heat of 4 Heritage surfers consisting of from the Illawarra to the far south coast area making their way to Woonona to compete, the female support was through the roof.

The girls all stepped up to the plate, and the level of surfing well impressed the judges panel. But it was Port Kembla’s finest Charli Hurst who managed to secure the win in the Open Women’s after a stacked final against Oceanna Rogers who placed a close second, Summa Longbottom securing third, and Billie Melinz who slotted into fourth place.

“The Ocean Queen Classic was a very special event to be a part of,” said champion Charli Hurst.

“Women’s surfing is progressing so much and this event really got to showcase that. I had the best day and I know a lot of the girls and even spectators felt the same. Seeing all of us girls cheering each other on and supporting one another was so great to see. It made the event feel very special! 

One thing that opened my eyes was seeing how many younger girls there are coming up in the region. It was so cool to surf with all these girls and I’m very happy to have gotten the win and just super grateful to be a part of an amazing and inspiring day.”

As for the Junior Girls, we saw females competing at just 12 years old. But it was event standout and Junior Girls winner Lucy Darragh from Werri Boardriders Club who came away undefeated! Highlight heat of the day was her Semi-Final where Lucy locked in an 8.43 and a 7 point ride where she combo’d the field, leaving the other girls chasing some big scores.

“This was such an amazing experience and I was honored to be a part of the day,” shared Lucy.

“The support from the girls was crazy and everyone surfed so well despite the tricky conditions. I’m so happy that it was an event dedicated to girls surfing and the progress all girls have made. It was also super cool to have Pam Burridge and some more ex-professional surfer girls giving us great advice and encouragement throughout the event.”

The future for the Ocean Queen Classic is looking bright. With plans already in the works for 2025, we are all hoping the future for Women’s surfing events will only get bigger and better!

Thank you to everyone who made this event so inspiring for many!

For a list of full results, please see https://liveheats.com/events/209236

For all event photos, please see here

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