September 15, 2018 would be a day to be remembered. The sun slowly crept from behind the eastern horizon heralding the beginning of what would be an auspicious day in the history of women’s surfing on the East Coast of the U.S.A. Twenty years of celebrating sisterhood and competitive women’s surfing while advocating and raising funds for breast cancer awareness, this Sisters of Sea contest drew the attention of participants from as young as 3 to the young at heart at 65, entrants from all corners of Florida and the East Coast, as well as island sisters from Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Hilo Hawaii!.
Excitement was definitely in the air as over one hundred female competitors, their family, friends and surfing aficionados all converged along the golden shores of the northern side of the Jacksonville Pier. From the whitewater riders, cross-stepping lady sliders to absolute shortboard shredders, this event showcased all levels of female surfing throughout its 14 divisions.
At the start of the day conditions were not the most favourable with waves being but a ripple, but by the blow of the horn signalling the official start of the event, they slowly improved becoming more contestable with 1-2 ft glassy A-frame peaks.
Heats ran in succession like a well-oiled machine with the day’s proceedings flowing with barely a hiccup. There was no shortage of entertainment as the masses on land kept their stoke levels up not only by the action in the water, but with the groovy beats of popular music blasted through the speakers by DJ Shy’d, beach games and surf swag giveaways from the sponsors’ tents. Attendees also tried their luck at the fundraising raffle tent where prizes ranging from Eidon bikinis to skate, Indo and surfboards were up for grabs. At only $1 a pop, it was easy to understand why this spot was never without a crowd for the duration of the day!
By the time finals rolled around, Mother Nature, through her messenger Hurricane Florence, gifted the sea sisters with 4-5 ft faces, a real treat for competitors and free-surfers alike! Like a switch, skills seemed amplified with the change of the waves as the girls and women lit up the line-up with their finest repertoire of manoeuvres. These ladies were on fire before but now, they were phoenixes: remarkable and filled with more fervour and grace than ever before! But not losing the essence of what makes women’s surfing so special, rivals could be seen sharing friendly words, laughter, hugs and high-fives amongst themselves, making all the finals a very heartwarming and extra pleasant treat to spectate.
Before the sun set, the crowd gathered in unison to celebrate the winners of all the divisions.
Trophies, prizes and all around well-wishes were distributed as the curtains drew down on the 20th annual Sisters of the Sea contest. It was also Mission Accomplished as an astounding $4,500 was raised and donated to Bosom Buddies, a cancer support programme dedicated to improving the lives of women affected by breast cancer. The 21st installment, no doubt, has a hard act to follow and Eidon, along with the S.o.S are eagerly willing to accept the challenge! See you in Jacksonville, FL in 2019!