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Blog

Here you will find reports of women surf events around the world, surf-related community projects, ways we as surfers can help our environment, short interviews, writings, and more!

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Queen of the Bay 2019 Opening Ceremony: Interview with Photographer Rebecca Price Baechle

Brianna Ortega

All Photos on this page by Rebecca Price Baechle

All Photos on this page by Rebecca Price Baechle

Queen of the Bay 2019 Opening Ceremony: Interview with Photographer Rebecca Price Baechle

What was the most inspirational moment for you during photographing the opening ceremony of Queen of the Bay 2019?

Queenofthebay_rebeccapricebaechle-7889.jpg

The most inspirational moment was seeing all the women paddle out together in the pouring rain as a double rainbow glowed over Waimea valley. It was crazy magical. Many of the women had their kids with them and some even pregnant. I thought it was so inspiring to see woman be embraced and celebrated for being the amazing athletes they are while also bringing their kids along for the ride. That part just thrilled me; mostly because I feel like there’s always this struggle of how to maintain one’s intensity for our own individuality while also nurturing our children and families. It’s so radical when women can show up as they are with kids in tow and a big wave gun in the other hand. I think this mentality is how we truly manage to have it all as women.

“It’s so radical when women can show up as they are with kids in tow and a big wave gun in the other hand. I think this mentality is how we truly manage to have it all as women.”

queen of the bay 2019

How were women surfers feeling with the past two years being cancelled due to swell size and having this new opportunity for 2019?

Everyone seemed super stoked and hopeful that this year the dream to have their day at the Bay will come true. It is a bummer that the holding period is so early on in the season because the men’s event can’t overlap and theirs starts in late November. So, yeah, they were excited and anticipating that hopefully the event will have a chance this year. It’s just too bad the women and men’s event can’t share the same window.

queen of the bay 2019
queen of the bay 2019

What emotions or ideas do you try to convey in your photographs through photographing big wave women's surfing?

Every time I shoot, I look for the off moments when people are just unaware that I’m even there taking photos and they are being their natural selves. During the ceremony, the vibe was so positive and powerful and the women were entirely focused on the meaning of the event. I loved being able to show the bond the waterwomen have with each other. In such a competitive sport, these women truly treat each other as family, which says a lot about the sport. When you surf big waves, shit can get heavy really quick and you may just need your fellow competitor to come to your aid; you just never know. I really wanted to showcase their strength, their dedication as athletes, and also how supportive they are of each other.

queen of the bay 2019

How is Hawai'i a positive place to have a big wave women's surfing event?

Hawai’i is such an epic place to be a female big wave surfer. I feel like there’s a lot of support right now and especially for the young up and coming surfers. Surfers like Paige Alms, Keala Kennelly and Andrea Moller have paved the way for the younger local girls. They have set such a positive and powerful example of what’s attainable and what is still possible. I think women’s big wave surfing has really just started and in Hawaii it’s being fostered by the community. We need women and girls to know that not only can they surf big waves, but that there will be events, sponsorships, and money to support them.

queen of the bay 2019

“I think women’s big wave surfing has really just started and in Hawaii it’s being fostered by the community. We need women and girls to know that not only can they surf big waves, but that there will be events, sponsorships, and money to support them.”

queen of the bay 2019
queen of the bay 2019

Was there a specific moment or conversation you had with a big wave surfer that spoke to you and what wanted to try to accomplish for shooting the event?

I had so many great conversations it’s so hard to nail down just one. I did talk to Blake, one of the women who was invited as an alternate. I know her through a mutual friend and just from being around town. She told me at first she felt as if she wasn’t worthy of being among the other women. But, one of her friends had asked her “Why would you not feel worthy? You surf the Bay right?” She smiled and said., ”Yeah, I do.” I think this speaks so much to our fears: no matter what we accomplish there is always going to be that moment when we are presented with an opportunity that terrifies us, where we feel totally unprepared for but that we know internally has been presented to us for a reason. It’s just up to each of us if we are willing to huck ourselves over the ledge and into the heaving pit of that wave. In this case, Blake showed up, claimed her place as an invitee and I guarantee on the day of the event she’ll be charging right next to all the other women who earned their place in the lineup!

queen of the bay 2019.jpg

“I think this speaks so much to our fears: no matter what we accomplish there is always going to be that moment when we are presented with an opportunity that terrifies us, where we feel totally unprepared for but that we know internally has been presented to us for a reason. It’s just up to each of us if we are willing to huck ourselves over the ledge and into the heaving pit of that wave.”

queen of the bay 2019

Full invite list: Andrea Moller, Bianca Valenti, Blake Lefkoe, Brittany Gomulka, Emi Erickson, Felicity Palmateer, Izzi Gomez, Jamilah Star, Justine Dupont, Kaya Waldman, Keala Kennely, Kelta O’Rourke, Kiomi Shepard, Laura Enever, Makani Adric, Michaela Fregonese, Momo Sakuma, Nicole Pacelli, Paige Alms, Paulia Raldo, Raquel Heckert, Remi Nealon, Sarah Gerhardt, Shakira Westdorp, Silvia Nambuco,Siri Masterson, Skylar Lickle, Wrenna Delgado