This is the weekend Carrie Danker looks forward to all year.
Danker, a real estate agent on James Island, has been surfing at The Washout on Folly Beach since she was a teenager and participating in surf competitions for more than a decade.
Danker, 40, won’t have to travel far to take part in the 18th annual Folly Beach Wahine Classic this weekend.
The two-day event is one of the few women-only surf competitions in South Carolina.
“It’s such an awesome event, to have a competition for just women is great because most of the surf competitions are predominantly for men,” Danker said. “I think it’s empowering for women to have this kind of event here in Charleston.”
Danker, who has competed in 16 of the 17 previous events, said the competition has grown since its humble beginnings in 2001. Even organizers are expecting more than 100 competitors this weekend.
“The Wahine Classic has grown so much since that first one they had,” said Jenny Brown, who won the pro shortboard competition a year ago. “I've been surfing for 30 years and competing for 25 years and Wahine Classic is always one of my favorite events of the year."
The competition, set for Saturday and Sunday, will feature shortboard, longboard, SUP, bodyboard and funshape divisions with age groups from under-12 (Menehune) to 50-and-older (Goddess), as well as novice, amateur and pro divisions.
Brown and local surfer Kate Barattini were last year’s winners. Brown, an instructor at Folly Beach’s Shaka Surf School (shakasurfschool.com), won the pro shortboard division. Barattini, a local artist, captured the pro longboard division.
There will be a $4,000 purse this year with winners of the pro shortboard and pro longboard divisions taking home $1,000. Each of the top four finishers will be awarded cash prizes.
“This is our biggest Wahine Classic yet in terms of sponsorships, donations and competitors,” said tournament executive director Nicole Elko. “This is the best weekend of women’s surfing in South Carolina.”