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Bianca Valenti: "I Was the Only Woman in the Water"

Big Wave Tour competitor and Co-Founder of the Committee for Equity in Women's Surfing, Bianca Valenti, chased a recent swell in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

We caught up with Bianca via email to hear about the bomb she paddled into riding a 9'6" Stretch epoxy with a bamboo bottom on Sunday September 16, 2018.

Bianca Valenti Paddling in at Puerto Escondido: September 16, 2018
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The California-based big wave charger scores one of the best waves of the day on September 16th, 2018 in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Describe the lead up to the wave, why you made the call to go down there and what the conditions looked like that day.

We woke up in the dark and could feel the pool house shaking as if there was an earthquake whenever a big wave would break.

Then we watched at first light and finally saw a pool house rumbling wave after about 30 minutes. It was looking HUGE and we saw a set close out the entire beach then saw some absolutely perfect giant ones after.

I was feeling nervous, excited and open to the possibility of catching a huge one, but also felt no pressure because I hadn't surfed any big waves since June. Safety first, last and always.

We walked all the way north to paddle from the harbor and the beach was rushing with water from the huge waves. During the long paddle out we saw some crazy ones!!!

My goal at Puerto is always to get one good one so I was sticking with that mentality. I sat way out the back by Coco [Nogales] since he's the boss of Puerto and knows what's up.

We really had no idea how big it might be getting. The off-shores were howling and I saw many unsuccessful attempts. Coco caught a nuts one!!! It was so vertical and radical and I knew if I held my position despite the ripping current I'd get my chance.

The pack moved a bit inside and I stayed out further and then a peak popped up and I was in a nice spot.

So I whipped around committed 10000000%, started sprinting, yelled out a hoot so everyone knew I was going -- even though most people were scratching to get over it -- and then I smoothly and easily dropped into it! And it was a really steep fun long drop to the bottom.

It felt really smooth. And I was really hoping for a barrel then I looked up at the lip to see what was up and I was like, "oh wow this thing is huge - don't look too long!" Then I looked forward again focusing on my line and it spit on me twice and I exited to the channel and the lineup was cheering for me and that made me feel really happy and stoked!

Seems like if I had been deeper I could've gotten a giant barrel ... #goalz

I decided to come down two days before the swell to celebrate equal pay. It felt like a weight lifted and I wanted to enjoy the new wave! It looked like there could've been a tropical storm but we rolled the dice anyways since SF was cold windy and 1ft. Glad we did!

What did the lineup look like that day?

Lots of pros and amazing surfers in the water going straight beast mode! Everyone seemed focused and on their toes at all times, I certainly was. Coco and the locals are always super inspiring in their approach and Jojo Roper and Nathan Florence we're going nuts too! It was quite a show.

The waves were leading the way and we are trying to dance!

Yes, I was the only woman in the water. It was incredibly hard to position, football fields of water would shift us north, south, east and west. It required non-stop paddling. Great exercise!

Surfline Women's Performance of the Year Nominee Bianca Valenti at the Big Wave Awards. Surfline Women's Performance of the Year Nominee, Bianca Valenti, with Dr. Joseph Hardeman, Au.D. at the Big Wave Awards (2017). WSL / Kenny Morris

How did it feel to catch the wave? Would you say that was the best wave of your career?

I felt nice and calm like a Zen Buddhist monk combined with a perfect SpaceX rocket launch into joy euphoria and bliss! It was amazing! It is in the top of my rides for sure, I really enjoyed it!!! Viva!!!

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