(Photo/Margarita Salyak, World Surf League)

Pro Surfers to Honor ‘Female Heroes’ in Upcoming World Surf League Tour

World Surf League (WSL) is acknowledging International Women’s Day this March with a celebration of inspirational women in sports history.

Every single surfer — men and women — in WSL’s upcoming Championship Tour in Portugal will be honoring and celebrating a slew of female heroes on special competition jerseys.

This is an athlete-led initiative, WSL explained. Here’s how it works: Each surfer will compete wearing a jersey with the name of a woman in sports who has “inspired them personally and have paved the way globally.” Each of the women showcased on the WSL jerseys will also receive a replica jersey and a message from the surfer who selected them.

“Equality and inclusion are at the core of everything we do at the WSL, so making sure we properly highlighted International Women’s Day — knowing that it occurs in the middle of our event window — made perfect sense. The fact that our athletes have truly embraced the celebration makes it that much more special,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP of Tours and Head of Competition.

4 World Surf League Women in Sport Honorary Jerseys

Here is the list of women honoraries surfers chose to celebrate:

  • Billie Jean King
  • Cathy Freeman
  • Naomi Osaka
  • Andrea Vargas
  • Carissa Moore
  • Lisa Andersen
  • Stephanie Gilmore
  • Sue Bird
  • Sky Brown
  • Bethany Hamilton
  • Michelle Kwan
  • Rell Sunn
  • Emma McKeon
  • Phyllis O’Donnell
  • Florence Arthaud
  • Shelby Longley
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Ash Barty
  • Lindsey Jacobellis
  • Maria Esther Bueno
  • Ana Marcela Cunha
  • Caster Semenya
  • Alex Florence
  • Jessica Silva
  • Malu Mendes
  • Frederica Pellegrini
  • Rose Namahunas
  • Helen Ewing
  • Chloe Kim
  • Serena Williams
  • Akemi Karasawa
  • Natasha Kai
  • Jessi Miley-Dyer
  • Sophia Mulanovich
  • Silvana Lima
  • Tyler Wright
  • Bianca Buitendag
  • Camille Muffat
  • Chelsey Hedges

For example, Olympic surfer Kanoa Igarashi chose to celebrate Naomi Osaka, Kelly Slater chose to rep four-time World Champion surfer Lisa Andersen, and Tyler Wright chose to honor Sue Bird.

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The WSL “is committed to creating equal opportunities for the best surfers in the world,” it wrote. And what better way to do that than to celebrate the many women in sports who have paved the way?

surfer Kanoa Igarashi honoring tennis player Naomi Osaka with jersey #50

Since 2019, the WSL has awarded equal prize money to women and men competing in the organization’s events. New in 2022, women were given the opportunity to surf the same venues as men — at the Pipeline in Hawaii, the world’s heaviest wave, Teahupo’o in Tahiti, and G-Land in Indonesia.

Pro surfers will wear the jerseys honoring international women in sports throughout the third stop of the Championship Tour from March 3 to 13, 2022. Watch the WSL Championship Tour here. 

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Mary Murphy
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Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.