San Francisco Surfer Bianca Valenti Scores a Win at the Puerto Escondido Cup

She’s proving women have what it takes for big wave surfing.

After the disappointing void of no Mavericks surf competition this year, surfer Bianca Valenti took her board south to the Puerto Escondido Cup. Hosted by the Surf Open League, some of the best big wave challengers took on Mexico’s “frightening, oversized beach break.” Bianca came out on top and shared with us her excitement on the accomplishment.

Photo by Maria Fernanda

What was it like surfing that break and taking the win?

Bianca: Such an epic moment in sports. The vibes on the beach were encouraging with roaring cheers from men, women and children. From a competitor standpoint, it was as fun as it gets. Most big wave spots don’t cater to a beach packed with people cheering for each epic ride. The celebrations went on into the night with dancing and FUEGO from the entire town! As good an event as I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been surfing contests since I was 9. What a moment for everyone, our motto of the event is WOMEN UP!

Photo by Edwin Morales

You’ve also been a huge advocate for women taking on Mavericks on your home turf. Tell us about that.

Bianca: It’s easy to overlook how hard it can be for us to even get out there, on Mavericks or any wave. I’ve heard snide remarks while paddling out from lesser surfers and from better surfers. But I don’t worry about their doubt making me stronger—casting doubt is a bigger sign of weakness than being doubted. Besides, I try to think of those criticisms as the past; the future of the sport is up to all of us, male and female.

Photo by Edwin Morales

I hear the conditions in Mexico were particularly challenging that weekend?

Bianca: Surfing big waves is always challenging … that’s why we must always be prepared mentally physically and spiritually. Paddling out during the peak of the swell at the hottest time of the day was pretty crazy! We were getting pounded wave after wave after wave. I started having self-doubting thoughts thinking, “Shit, am I going to make it out in time for the heat?” And then I was pissed I was using so much energy just to get past the inside. Then I said, wait a minute, these are exactly the thoughts I do not want in my mind and I started pumping up the positivity with mantras like, “Yeah, this is so fun, this is what I live for, I can do anything.” And just like that, I made it out in time for the heat to start and we all started playing big.

Photo by Edwin Morales

What’s unique about the strain of DNA that big wave surfers possess vs. other surfers that may not?

Bianca: I don’t think big-wave surfing is genetic … DNA, X chromosomes or Y chromosomes. Every responsible surfer we see out there has been practicing and training every day, rain or shine, sharks and all, for a really long time. Big wave surfing has always been about pushing the limits of performance and seeing what’s possible. And for women surfers, we just couldn’t see what’s possible if we couldn’t get on the wave. Everyone should have the opportunity to put in their time.

See some action from the competition here.