Alana Spencer / Red Bull Content Pool

Lesbian surfer Keala Kennelly has been crowned the champion of Red Bull’s all-female big-wave event.

Magnitude is a three-month event challenging the best and boldest surfers to go head to head to win a cash prize.

Battling it out, female surfers must successfully ride the biggest waves, during the Hawaiian surf season, to be in with a chance of winning.

The competition took place across the Hawaiian Islands from December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021.

Red Bull’s Magnitude offers a prize purse of $40,000 and $25,000 going to the “Overall Performance” winner. Follow up awards the “Runner Up,” “Best Ride,” and “Biggest Wave” each offer $5,000 award for their respective categories.

“This event format gives a new level of opportunity to both established big-wave surfers and the up-and-comers of the sport,” said Hawaiian big wave surfer Paige Alms.

“Without the time constraints of a traditional in-person event, it puts a new emphasis on local knowledge and gives us three months to pick our days and ride the best waves at the best times.”

Kennelly scooped up $25,000 landing first place after pulling off a 35-foot bomb wave caught at Oahu’s Outer Reefs.


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A post shared by Keala Kennelly (@kealakennelly)

A spokesperson for barriers in the surfing community, Kennelly is a passionate advocate for equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

Pro surfer Makani Adric described the appeal of the Red Bull female-only competition.

“This is a new kind of contest, and one that I think is uniquely positioned to highlight the best up-and-comers in the world of surfing,” she said in a statement.

“The reality is that limitations around traditional big-wave contests don’t really allow them to show who might be surfing at the highest level for an entire season–rather, they only showcase one moment in time–and they make it hard for newcomers to get noticed. This opens all that up and changes the game.”

American surfer Rochelle Ballard agreed: “The beauty of winter in Hawaii is that on any given swell, there are a handful of breaks that are firing, and it can take a lifetime of surfing here to figure out where and when to strike on each swell,” she said.

“This contest provides ultimate freedom for contestants to flex their local knowledge and have the opportunity to ride the best waves at their favorite spots. It’s a true measure of what it means to be a big-wave charger.”

You can watch the Red Bull Magnitude magic in action here or below:


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A post shared by Keala Kennelly (@kealakennelly)