For the First Time Ever, the Vans Duct Tape Invitational Is an All-Women’s Event

If you’ve been tracking the surf forecast for the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach this week, you’ve probably noticed a serious lack of swell. And maybe more than struggling in the shorebreak on shortboards, competitors should bust out the logs and tap into the art of “the glide.”

Well, it seems that contest organizers may have consulted with Nostradamus when they were nailing down the details for this year’s function because adding the first-ever, all-women’s Vans Duct Tape Invitational was pretty much a stroke of brilliance. Forget the Huntington hop, the cross-stepping grace of the some of the world’s best female longboarders should prove to be a breath of stoke-filled fresh air.

Since 2010, former longboard world champ and enduring stylist Joel Tudor has been playing host to the Vans Duct Tape Invitational. As a specialty longboard jam, the goal of the contests have been to give the old-style longboard community not only a stage to perform, but also to celebrate the time-honored tradition of classic, handmade surf craft. To date, Joel and the team at Vans have hosted 16 contests, and while women have appeared here and there in the cast of characters, there has never been a Duct Tape Invitational for women only … Until now.

And the first-ever, all-women’s Duct Tape event will take place in the shadow of the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. And 16 of the world’s most stylish and creative women longboarders have been invited. Among the list of invitees are former world champs Honolua Blomfield and Jen Smith, as well as the effervescent Kassia Meador, artisan board builder Ashley Lloyd and local creative Karina Rozunko.

As far as judging criteria, the Duct Tape is a little bit different than everything else you may see at the U.S. Open. Boards must be traditional, single-fin logs – No modernity allowed. Surfers will be riding equipment very similar to what was ridden during the early years of the Open in the late ’50s and early ’60s. No interference will be called (“Ladies’ Priority”) and bonus points will even be awarded for best shared wave, encouraging surfers to ride the same wave with style and creativity.

The Duct Tape Invitational will run in conjunction with the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. The four-day waiting period runs from August 2-5.

Kassia Meador representing women’s longboading at last year’s Mexi Log Fest. Photo: Courtesy of Luki O’Keefe/Vans

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