Bianca Valenti, big-wave surfing, women's surfing

Super Sessions II: Documenting women’s big-wave surfing

When we started Whoa, we wanted to create our own publication to showcase the incredible physical and mental feats of women from all over the world. We felt the media wasn’t providing enough coverage of these badass, adventurous ladies and something needed to be done. We’re not the only ones who felt this way.

Super Sessions 
Nico Sell created Super Sessions in 2014 to showcase women’s big-wave surfing in an intimate way – through the eyes of the ladies who shred.

To create the first Super Session, she sent 13 of the best big-wave surfing women a package. Inside they found a camera, an iPad and a secret mission to document their quest for the gnarliest surf sessions on the planet. The women were from warm and cold locales (Hawaii, Ireland, etc.) and joined together via video messages to talk big-waves, women’s surfing and their next adventures.

The ladies soon flew to NorCal (Northern California) to meet and surf on “Maverick’s”, a session of iconic waves. The women paddled hard, cheered hard and made awesome friendships. The event culminated in an awards ceremony featuring prizes for outstanding contributions to Super Sessions.

Now that the first round is over, the surfers and their founder are looking for outside help for fundraising. Instead of turning to big name brands and corporations, the athletes are hoping to raise $150,000 via Kickstarter before Dec. 18, 2015 at 10 a.m. CST. All of the money goes toward funding sick surf sessions all over the globe, which will be filmed and then the whole collection turned into an incredible, ground-breaking documentary.

Bianca Valenti, big-wave surfing, women's surfing
Professional surfer Bianca Valenti – photographed by Nigel Davenport.

We spoke with Bianca Valenti, a professional surfer and one of the women involved in Super Sessions II. Her Twitter bio reads, “Surf life til death” and Surfer Mag proclaimed her relatively unknown status as one of the top female big-wave riders as “almost criminal.” She is just one of the 11 women with impressive surfing chops who plan to show that women can ride the gnarliest waves in the SSII film.

Bianca shared that for her, surfing induces a state of euphoria. “When I am paddling into a huge wave I become completely one million percent present and committed. Instinct takes over and it’s just me and the wave. Nothing else matters.”

She says it’s hard to find a place where people are completely present these days, and the meditative qualities of surfing help her do just that.

Of course, sometimes she does get afraid paddling into 20- to 60-foot waves billowing toward the shore.

“Facing my fears is what intrigues me. It’s OK to be afraid. It’s facing our fears that makes us the best we can be,” Bianca said.

There isn’t much media coverage of the female presence in big-wave surfing. At least, not yet. The professional surfer shared that this version of the sport is relatively young. “Judging by the media who want to cover stories and the emails and messages I get from fans, I would say that the world IS interested and INSPIRED in seeing women take on big waves.”

She believes that now is the time to create opportunity and a platform to showcase the women paddling out into huge water.

“Historically, women have been homemakers and not badass athletes and business people… but we are living in the future now, and that is an outdated and unrealistic view of women!” She exclaimed.

Whoa asked Bianca what we, the women of the outdoor community, can do to support this growing sport and the athletes involved. “Speak up!” she said. Sharing the stories of the women of Super Sessions II is only the beginning.

Bianca Valenti, big-wave surfing, women's surfing
Professional surfer Bianca Valenti taken with a GoPro.

Want to sound like you know what you’re talking about in terms of surfing? Bianca shared a mini-dictionary to get you started. (It’ll also help when your inspiration to delve into the world of surfing brings you to publications that use these terms.)

Green room – the best place to be inside the vortex of a wave
Radical – really good
Shredding – surfing really well
Gnar – challenging conditions

To support these incredible athletes and their mission to personalize big-wave women’s surfing, visit their Kickstarter. With rewards like a daily surf haiku ($45) and a board broken by one of the SSII ladies ($500) it’s hard to resist. You could even donate in the name of a friend as a seriously rad holiday gift. Shred on!

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