Meet the 6 Women Who Made History Competing in The Eddie 2023

Among the fearless wāhine who charged in the big-wave surf contest: a mom-paramedic, environmental and LGBTQ+ activists, and equal rights warriors.


The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has captivated the world since its first took place in 1984. And while the insanely huge waves and supreme level of skill showcased is always thrilling, what was particularly exciting about this year’s big-wave surfing contest was its inclusion of women in the competitive field for the first time in the event’s history.


Out of the 40 competitors, six were women. All competed together—there were no gender-specific divisions. And of course, we couldn’t help but want to know more about these badass wāhine and hear about how it felt to be part of such an epic moment.



Paige Alms Hawaii surfer wave beach surfboard woman man

Alms at The Eddie. Photos: Travis Morrin, Amanda Beenen Cantor


Paige Alms

Age: 34
Hometown: Ha‘ikū, Maui
Follow Her: @paigealms,
Born on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Alms moved to Maui at the age of 9 and honed her skills at Ho‘okipa Beach before getting hooked on big waves as a young teen. A two-time World Surfing League (WSL) Big Wave Tour champion, she helped lead the charge for equality in sports by co-founding the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing in 2016, a driving force behind the Honolulu City Council’s 2020 approval of Resolution 20-12, which supports gender equity in professional surfing.


On The Eddie: “It meant the world to me to be included in The Eddie this year. It was a dream come true to surf alongside the guys and to do it on one of if not the biggest and best Eddie that has ever run. It’s just magic! The thing about first times, is it only happens once. So, to be a part of the first one with women included, it will forever be engrained in my memory bank.”



Keala Kennelly Hawaii beach ocean woman standing with surfboard

Kennelly at Waimea Bay. Photo: Alana Spencer/Red Bull Content Pool



Keala Kennelly

Age: 44
Hometown: Hanalei, Kaua‘i
Follow Her: @keallakennelly,
The list of arenas Kennelly is active in would put any multi-hyphenate to shame. She’s taken on some of the planet’s sickest waves—she broke ground by winning the first women’s big wave contest in 2010 and has multiple trophies from the WSL Pe‘ahi Big Wave Challenge and XXL Big Wave Awards. Kennelly is also a DJ, an actor, clothing and swimwear designer and public speaker. The first openly gay surfer to win a world surfing title, she’s an LGBTQ+ and women’s rights activist, and is a co-founder with Alms of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing.



Makani Adric surfer surfboard beach sand ocean wave

Makani Aric at The Eddie 2023 / Photos: Erik Kabik



Makani Adric

Age: 26
Hometown: Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu
Follow Her: @makaniadri
Adric learned to surf at 4 years old and was catching waves on her own on the North Shore, where she grew up and still lives, at 7. She’s been a standout in Red Bull’s Magnitude big-wave competitions, taking home its Runner-Up award in 2021. Enormous swells aren’t the only things she takes down—Adric keeps fit out of the water by dropping competitors to the mat in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions (she boasts a third-degree brown belt in the martial art). And at one point she even helmed her own swimwear line.


On The Eddie: “It was quite a special moment for me to be a part of the first group of women to surf in The Eddie. It was such a humbling experience to be out in the ocean sharing my passion for surfing with only a few other people out.”

“My favorite moment was to see how excited and amazed all these younger kids were to watch the event live in person. It made me so happy to see the reaction on their faces. Hearing all the good words from everyone after the event was finished was really a proud moment for me.”



Andrea Moller woman riding a jetski on ocean waves

Moller at Red Bull Magnitude 2022. Photo: Christa Funk / Red Bull Content Pool



Andrea Moller

Age: 43
Hometown: Ilhabela, Brazil
Follow Her: @andreamollermaui
Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe the roles that Andrea Moller is juggling. Along with being a world-class surfer, paddle boarder and outrigger canoe racer, the now-Maui resident is also a mom and a paramedic. Moller landed a place in the Guinness World Records for the largest paddle-in wave surfed by a woman—an insane 42-footer she took on at Jaws in 2016. She’s also won a WSL Best Performance Award and in 2013 founded Ike Moana, an annual event that gives special needs keiki a chance to learn stand-up paddling and spend a day with pro athletes.



Justine Dupont

Dupont at The Eddie 2023 and surfing Jaws. Photos: Ryan Foley, Fred Pompermayer/Red Bull Content Pool



Justine Dupont

Age: 31
Hometown: Bordeaux, France
Follow Her: @justinedupont33,
Known as one of the most versatile all-around professional surfers in the world, this French waterwoman is a master of the shortboard, longboard, tow-board and stand-up paddleboard. She took home her first trophy as national longboard champion at age 15, and has since snagged several gold medals from the ISA World Championship Games and multiple awards from the Red Bull Big Wave Awards and XXL Awards. She’s also passionate about protecting the environment and works to raise awareness about negative effects on oceans.


On The Eddie: “I can tell you that it was an amazing experience to be part of it. It’s a huge honor, specifically as I am not a Hawai‘i resident and I didn’t have a lot of sessions at Waimea Bay. I didn’t approach it at all like a contest but much more like a celebration of big-wave surfing and of the legacy of Eddie [Aikau]. It was amazing to share the lineup with the best guys in the world in conditions like that. I am really thankful to the Aikau family, Liam McNamara and everybody that made it happen. I will remember that day my whole life.”



Hawaii ocean wave surfer woman surfboard beach

Erickson at Red Bull Magnitude 2023 at Waimea. Photos: John Hook/Red Bull Content Pool, Alana Spencer/Red Bull Content Pool



Emily Erickson

Age: 33
Hometown: Sunset Beach, O‘ahu
Follow Her: @emi_erickson
“Big Wave Huntress” is how Emi Erickson describes herself on her Instagram page and it’s an apt title. Growing up on O‘ahu’s North Shore as the daughter of a waterman (her father is Roger Erickson, a big-wave surfer who previously competed in The Eddie), the waves were always calling. Once she hit her teens Erickson began answering back, fearlessly chasing larger and larger waves. She’s competed at Pe‘ahi, won the Nelscott Reef Pro in 2019 and took home the trophy for the Best Wave in Red Bull’s 2021 Magnitude big-wave surfing event.




SEE ALSO: With The Eddie, Waimea Bay Reclaims the Big Wave Spotlight