top of page
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle


After a successful proposal-presentation at the Capitola City Council meeting on March 12, and amazing testimonials and emails from WOW's biggest supporters, we are happy to announce that (drum roll please)...


WOW IS BACK!!! OCT. 10, 2020


A HUGE Thank You to everyone that showed up at the City Council meeting and to everyone that wrote emails to the City to support this event.

Stay tuned for more info in the next few months.




Women On Waves Surf Contest (W.O.W.) it's an amateur longboard surfing event that showcases the talent and athleticism of local women in the Santa Cruz County community. It is a fundraising event that promotes women's participation, of all ages, in the sport of surfing. Women On Waves Surf Contest is organized by a group of volunteers from the community that feel very passionate about giving back and celebrating women's presence in the water.


W.O.W. Participants come from all walks of life and all ages. Their enthusiasm for the sport of surfing is truly uplifting and a testament to the strength and camaraderie of our community. 


Profits from WOW 2018 will benefit The Wahine Project, a nonprofit organization created in an effort to reach young girls around the world who would otherwise not have access to the resources that would allow them to surf. Whether geographical, financial or lack of opportunity, The Wahine Project seeks to break down the barriers that prevent the participation of young girls in the sport of surfing and provide them the opportunity to not only become proficient surfers but as a result of surfing, increase their awareness to their global citizenship. Through education, outreach and travel young girls will be provided opportunities that will give them a sense of social responsibility that surfing uniquely provides.





About WOW




WOW is a unique event that gives the women of Santa Cruz County a chance to surf and benefit the local community. It all started in 1996 by guys from the West Wind Surf Club.

WOW continued to grow over the years with the support of many volunteers from the surfing community as well as Toni Castro and the Capitola Chamber of Commerce.



In 2006, Sally Smith, founder of Paradise Surf Shop, kept the Women on Waves Surf Fest alive. Two years after the last WOW, Sally has started a new chapter in her life, passing the Paradise Surf Shop torch to Anna Macken and the WOW Surf Fest to the Mermaid Series, which organizes all women events. Mermaid Series organized WOW in 2008 and 2009. From 2010 - 2012 the contest took a 3 years hiatus. In 2013 Mermaid Series, along with the help of many volunteers from the West Wind Surf Club and the Capitola community, brought it back. 2014 was the last year for Mermaid Series to organize the event. In 2015 it all became full circle and Sally Smith, with the help of Marisol Godinez and many volunteers organized the event.


WOW went through another 2 years hiatus and in 2018, Aylana Zanville from Ola Chica will be leading the ship. Aylana is a local surfer who has always been attracted to giant walls of water, a passionate entrepreneur and bathing suit designer.  


Since wow began in 1996, this event has raised over $58,000 for the Santa Cruz Community. Among others, proceeds benefited the Barry Hamby Cabrillo, Women On Waves Zeuf Hesson Scholarship (Dedicated to Zeuf Hesson, Queen of the Santa Cruz surfing, a constant source of inspiration and motivation to the Santa Cruz community) WomenCARE, a non-profit that supports women with cancer and their families and Women's Crisis Support - Defensa de Mujeres (Monarch Services), a non-profit that helps women and children subjected to domestic violence.



Great volunteer opportunities available at WOW Surf Contest! If you are interested in giving back to the community by donating your time to make this event a success please feel free to contact us at

VIEW volunteer opportunities HERE

NEW for 2018! WOWS* Women Open Water Swim.

On October 20th, 2018, the ocean we'll be our happy place. This is a great opportunity for all the girls and women that love to have adventures in the salty waters while challenging their bodies and accomplishing new goals. Why? Because not everyone needs a surfboard to enjoy the ocean. (Smiley face)



Age groups: 10-18, 19-30, 31 and over.




For the Half Mile Swim: (Course Map) Contestants receive a siren start, enter the ocean on the right side of the Capitola Pier. Swim parallel to the pier, around the end, and then straight into the finish in front of the lifeguard tower at the Capitola Beach. Water temperature is approximately 57 to 62 degrees.



For the one Mile Swim: (Course Map) Contestants receive a siren start, enter the ocean on the right side of the Capitola Pier. Swim parallel to the pier towards, buoy 1, 2, and 3, please stay on your left shoulder. Buoy 4 will be on your right shoulder. Buoy 5 will go back to left shoulder. Exit straight into the finish in front of the lifeguard tower at the Capitola Beach. Water temperature is approximately 57 to 62 degrees. 



Check-in / body marking begins at 7:30 a.m, closes at 8:30 a.m.  Race start at 9:00 a.m.



Use of fins, pull buoys, gloves or other swimming devices are prohibited. For beginners and advanced swimmers, wetsuits are recommended but not required, to help adjust to the water’s temperature and can improve buoyancy. 



Safety services provided by the Santa Cruz City Beach Lifeguard Service and Santa Cruz Surf Life Saving Association. All contestants are required to wear a brightly colored swim cap.  Caps will be provided.  Cut-off time for both distances is 1 hour 30 minutes.  No personal escorts are permitted. Insulated swim caps permitted, no other swim aids allowed. The expected water temperature is 60 degrees, wetsuits are permitted.




Questions? Please feel free to contact us at

contact us


PRODUCED BY OLA CHICA | P.O. Box 7335 Santa Cruz, CA 95061

P: 831.359.1175





Thanks! Message sent.

bottom of page