Undoubtedly, Saturday, January 16, 2021, was a day to remember at Jaws. With the surf pushing 50 feet and the wind whipping, only a handful of the world's best big-wave surfers dared tempt fate on the north shore of Maui. Among those that braved the lineup were a group of hard-charging women, including Justine Dupont, Izzi Gomez, Keala Kennelly, Paige Alms, Andrea Moller and Annie Reickert.
Breaking the Internet, Dupont, who grew up longboarding in Bordeaux, France, pulled into what may be the biggest barrel ever ridden by a woman. Coming through an impossible cavern, she exited with her hand raised in triumph. It will undoubtedly go down as a landmark moment in surf history.
"When I decided to come for this swell my goal was to get a great barrel at Jaws," wrote Dupont on Instagram. "Thanks so much @michellarronde for the perfect drive. Thanks @othochouf @tylerlarronde @fredodavid for telling me 1000x since few days that I was going to make a barrel."
And while Dupont's wave has now been seen by millions of people around the world, she wasn't the only one pushing limits out there. Gomez, who comes from Colombia, gave it her all. With an amazing crew of women supporting her, she gave thanks to the groundbreaking performances of surfers like Paige Alms and Bianca Valenti for "being the best aunties ever and encouraging me to get out there."
Local water woman Reickert was another that logged a standout performance. She's no stranger to Jaws, but at this size, it was the ultimate test.
"I have dreamed of surfing big waves since I was really young, right about when the first women were hitting the lineup," Reickert explained on social media. "I am so grateful for these water warriors for pushing the limits and boundaries to pave the way."
And, of course, Kennelly was spotted out in the lineup at Peahi taking off on bombs and enjoying the energy in the water. One of the most significant pioneers in big wave surfing over the years, she continues to be an inspirational presence in the lineup. And when the 2018 WSL Big Wave Champion isn't surfing, she is DJing and spreading a positive message through motivational speaking.
For these women, and all the up-and-coming girls out there that have seen what they just accomplished, this day will stand out not only because of the size and power of the surf, but also by the barrier-shattering performances by Dupont and everyone else.
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