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Last weekend, a historic event took place at the 2018 US Open of Surfing. The Duct Tape Invitational, a traditional longboarding contest hosted by Vans and Mr. Joel Tudor, had an all-female lineup for the first time in the history of the event. The competition is always entertaining to watch, with creative maneuvers highly encouraged, and special prizes awarded for the best shared wave. This event has been running for the past eight years or so, at world class venues such as Malibu, Noosa, Saladita, Zarautz, and of course, Huntington Beach Pier. Joel selects and invites the 16 loggers to each event, and in the past, there were always one or two women thrown in the mostly male heats. There’s been talk of a girls’ division being included in the DTI for a few years now, but finally, the idea came into fruition, on the big stage of the US Open.
I didn’t get the invite this time, but was stoked to see the incredible class of ladies that were chosen to compete in last weekend’s event. Joel included surfers from all over the US, and one surfer from Australia. From my computer screen way over on the other side of the world, I was able to watch my peers perform in some relatively tricky conditions. I grew up competing with these girls, and I know that they all were more than capable of taking home the title. After the quarters and semis ran last Thursday, the finals were set to be run on Saturday. Interestingly, there were two veteran professionals from California, 2017 Mexi Log Fest winner Kaitlin Maguire and two-time WSL world champion Jen Smith, and two up and coming Hawaiians, 2018 Mexi Log Fest winner Kelis Kaleopaa and current WSL world champion Honolua Blomfield. Obviously, with those track records, it’s no surprise that these four incredible surfers were the finalists for the DTI.
In the end, Honolua earned the crown, and became the first ever female winner of Joel Tudor’s Duct Tape Invitational. The event was a huge success, which means that hopefully, there will be more women’s DTIs in the future. Women’s longboarding seems to have exploded with popularity over the past few years, as the level of surfing continues to rise. Every time I get into a jersey, I am blown away at the skills of my fellow competitors, and I feel proud to be part of this exciting era.