October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and World Surf League forecast partner Surfline has teamed up with the Mauli Ola Foundation for the second annual Battle for the Breasts. The fan-based voting competition randomly pairs 16 female surfers with cancer clinics and hospital foundations for a chance to win a donation to their respective facilities.
Bethany Hamilton (HAW), who recently competed as the Swatch Women's Pro wildcard, won the inaugural event in 2014. Beginning Thursday, October 8, fans can vote on the top video clips submitted by each surfer in a bracket-style competition. Every Thursday throughout the rest of October, half the field will be eliminated and fans can vote again, whittling down the field until a winner is crowned. The contest is supported by Ambry Genetics and will award $125,000 total in hereditary breast cancer genetic testing vouchers to cancer foundations across the United States.
"Everybody wins," said Mauli Ola Executive Director Hans Hagen. "The girls have a platform to showcase some of their best surfing. The fans get to support their favorite surfers. And it's all in the name of breast cancer awareness and research. We're excited to be bringing it back this year."
"Battle for the Breasts is a great cause and also a great way to showcase women's surfing," she said. Winning last year, she added, "made me feel special because I was working hard for something beyond myself."
Check out some of the clips in contention from members of the women's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour below:
Also on board for 2015 as an event ambassador is four-time World Champion and recent Heritage Heat winner Lisa Andersen. Andersen is currently in France for the Roxy Pro, but couldn't be more excited to help raise awareness for the cause.
"First, I am truly honored to be able to work with Ambry Genetics and the Mauli Ola Foundation. And I am looking forward to being a spokesperson for Battle for the Breasts," said Andersen. "Like Ambry and Mauli Ola, I too am passionate about making the world a better place. And I am positive that this event will help educate and provide more information for those wanting to learn more about the cause."
Though the Battle for the Breasts is only in its second year, the Mauli Ola Foundation has been using the ocean to help increase hope among individuals living with genetic diseases since 2007. Their efforts include Surf Experience Days and Ocean Experience Days, which use surfing and ocean activities to promote the natural healing effects of salt water in children with Cystic Fibrosis and other genetic conditions.
This year's Battle for the Breasts field includes the following seriously talented athletes and worthy foundations:
- Alana Blanchard (HAW) on behalf of the MLC Cancer Foundation, Martinsville, VA
- Alessa Quizon (HAW) on behalf of Southcoast Hospitals Group Inc., New Bedford, MA
- Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) on behalf of Health Services of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Carissa Moore (HAW) on behalf of the University of Texas Foundation, Austin, TX
- Coco Ho (HAW) on behalf of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Foundation for St. Francis and Franklin Inc., Milwaukee, WI
- Courtney Conlogue (USA) on behalf of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
- Dimity Stoyle (AUS) on behalf of Parkview Health System Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
- Johanne Defay (FRA) on behalf of St. Joseph's Hospital of Tampa Foundation Inc., Tampa, FL
- Lakey Peterson (USA) on behalf of Saint Thomas Hospital Foundation, Nashville, TN
- Laura Enever (AUS) on behalf of the Saint Francis Foundation, Hartford, CT
- Mahina Maeda (HAW) on behalf of Northeast Georgia Health System Inc., Gainesville, GA
- Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) on behalf of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
- Pauline Ado (FRA) on behalf of Tufts Medical Center Parent Inc., Boston, MA
- Sage Erickson (USA) on behalf of the Forsyth Memorial Hospital Inc., Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC
- Silvana Lima (BRA) on behalf of St. Vincent Hospital Foundation Inc., Indianapolis, IN
- Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) on behalf of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA