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Women of SUP Stand Up for Equality

Women in SUP are standing up for equality. Women in SUP are standing up for equality.

SAN DIEGO, California - Early on Friday October 20, 2017, one of the most prestigious and competitive stand up paddle events, the APP World Tour Red Bull Heavy Water, kicked off on the shores of Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California. The invite-only event has garnered a lot of attention in recent days due to the expected XL swell, its $20,000 champion prize payout - the largest in SUP history, and, for the second consecutive year, the lack of female competitors. Up until a few days ago, not one female athlete was invited to attend, until SUP World Champion Annabel Anderson spoke out on Instagram about the issue on Tuesday, October 17.

“The boys get to race for $50,000 this week. The girls didn't get invited. The real questions is ~ in 2017 are "we" ok with that ???” wrote Anderson.

The answer she heard from around the world was no. Since Anderson’s original post, the inequality conversation has exploded on social media. Anderson posted again early Friday morning as a response to the large reaction she had received, calling out the issue at large and inviting others to join the equality movement. Heads have begun to shift from the men competing in the Red Bull Heavy Water competition, towards their female counterparts that are demanding action. According to Candice Appleby, the conversation even caught the APP Director’s attention, who, soon after Anderson’s first post, reached out to her and fellow SUP athlete Fiona Wylde about attending the event.

“Shortly after this matter was brought to public attention via social media post by @annabelanderson earlier this week, the APP Director reached out to myself and @fiona_wylde to discuss the matter, in a last minute effort to get female competitors, 3 days before the event. This is extremely unprofessional. As professional athletes we know the importance of preparation. The male athletes have been in San Francisco for over two weeks training in the challenging environment. The APP Tour director then proceeded to invite Fiona (w/ full travel compensation), as the only female athlete, hours before the event. We deemed this unfair and very disrespectful to the deep field of women in our sport. It is easy to see the lack of transparency in these actions, and the disregard for the female athletes as a whole. NEWS FLASH: We are not to be an after thought. We have been here all along, and we want an equal opportunity to participate” writes Appleby on her Instagram page.

#ipaddleforequality “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson. Today we are faced with a speed bump in our fast growing sport of Stand Up Paddling. For the second year in a row, there will be no female athletes in the Red Bull Heavy Water @appworldtour event in San Francisco. In this event, male athletes will be racing for $50,000 in prize money, $20,000 going to the event Champion. The largest champion payout to date, but with no female invites. Shortly after this matter was brought to public attention via social media post by @annabelanderson earlier this week, the APP Director reached out to myself and @fiona_wylde to discuss the matter, in a last minute effort to get female competitors, 3 days before the event. This is extremely unprofessional. As professional athletes we know the importance of preparation. The male athletes have been in San Francisco for over two weeks training in the challenging environment. The APP Tour director then proceeded to invite Fiona (w/ full travel compensation), as the only female athlete, hours before the event. We deemed this unfair and very disrespectful to the deep field of women in our sport. It is easy to see the lack of transparency in these actions, and the disregard for the female athletes as a whole. NEWS FLASH: We are not to be an after thought. We have been here all along, and we want an equal opportunity to participate. Moving forward, it is our goal to set forth a path of success for the future of our sport that includes; equality, transparency and equal OPPORTUNITY for ALL athletes. There have been some events that are great example of this forward thinking such as the PPG, Gorge Race, Sup Fiesta, C-Cup and I’m grateful. As for future events, investors, athletes, and parents of athletes, I invite you to stand up for whats right and ask yourself the question “What do we want for our sisters and daughters?” #equalopportunity #equalityinsport #redbullheavywater #unlikeany

A post shared by Candice Appleby (@applesteeze) on

Anderson and Appleby are just two of the many other women in SUP that have since posted in support of their fellow female athletes, including Starboard athletes Fiona Wylde, Sonni Hönscheid, Penelope Strickland and Olivia Piana, SIC maui athletes Seychelle Hattingh and Jade Howson, Shae Foudy and April Zilg. Women around the world are standing up and voicing their opinions on the inequality in our sport using the hashtag #IPADDLEFOREQUALITY.

Our objective is clear: Equality, transparency and equal opportunities for all” - Olivia Piana

Not more than our fair share. Not more than we deserve. Not special treatment ....we're just asking for #equality When it comes to women getting equal opportunities in paddling it’s time to #jointheconversation” - Penelope Strickland

Many have also commented on the future of SUP, hoping that their actions made today will help create a more equal environment for their daughters and other young aspiring female athletes.

“My goal is clear: to support equality, transparency and equal opportunity to set a path of success for the future of our sport and its athletes. The question is simple ‘What do we want for our sisters and daughters?’” - Annabel Anderson

“What we seek is Equal Opportunity in this sport (and all sports) for male and female competitors. What do we want for our sisters and daughters?... This event is only one example of inequality in sport since the beginning of time. I invite you to join us.” - Seychelle Hattingh

“A dream and a new world was born for me when I was introduced to stand up paddling. I found my my place and my drive to be my best! Every little girl with a dream has the right to chase it and should never be told otherwise, because I believe, nothing is impossible! Maybe today wasn’t our day, but hopefully starting tomorrow, we will all have an equal opportunity for girls and boys, men and women, to find their dreams and chase as far as they can go! So yes, #IPADDLEFOREQUALITY” - Fiona Wylde

The women in SUP are undoubtedly talented and deserve a fair opportunity to compete at the highest levels for the most premier awards. Do you have thoughts on the inequality in SUP? Share with us by commenting below!

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Last modified onFriday, 20 October 2017 12:06
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