Big wave competitor Raquel Heckert shares her thoughts on the Womans Waimea Bay Championship

Raquel is a Brazilian (Rio de Janeiro) Big wave surfer about to compete. Without yet a sponsor she has managed with the help of others, to travel the world and build up her experience in big water. This is her 3rd season in Hawaii.

About the event: RedBull Queen of the Bay

Holding period begins October 1st. The event takes place on the day that brings us big, beautiful ocean swells reaching wave heights of 20ft Hawaiian/35–40ft faces.

Born on the island of Maui in the 18th century, Queen Ka’ahumanu redefined the perceived roles of Hawaiian women. Defying the Kapu system’s strict separation of men and women, this strong Hawaiian monarch and surfer sat at the table and dined beside the king. With all the chiefs and priests to bear witness, she was not struck down by the gods, no lighting came from the sky, and with this one public act set forth a ripple of change. In this spirit we wish to sit at the table, to humbly showcase the raw beauty found in the giant surf of Waimea Bay, and to demonstrate the strength and grace of the women who ride her waves.

The Path to the Red Bull Queen of the Bay

Celebrating Kanaka Wahine in History and the Women who Surf Big Waves Today
A new movement of women big wave surfers has emerged over the past several years. Surfing down the face of waves taller than 60 feet and pulling into barrels that could easily fit a train, their feats have eclipsed any doubts that women could tackle the biggest and heaviest waves on earth. More on the history here

Left: Silvia Nabuco, Claudinha Goncalves and Raquel Heckert, Photo (eft) by Jianca Lazarus Photo (right) by Doug Falter

Can you tell my why this event is important to you?

This event is important because is the opportunity to be more thankful to God for the blessing of surfing big waves in Hawaii. It’s great because we can surf and get to know others in the big waves community and share the same passion coming from hearts and all different parts of the world.

Since my first international surf trip that was to Puerto Escondido, México- at 19 years old, this experience would turn out to change my life forever.
Photo by: Miguel West Side. Location: Zicatela- México

After that trip I was really sure that surfing big waves and getting barrelled should be my professional life and also my chosen lifestyle. I just wanted to surf and train more and more, to become every day better in big waves and barrels. I then wanted to surf even if nobody was there to watch me or taking pictures. I just wanted to improve my own surfing.

The surf touched my heart in a way that I know that it was God’s gift. It would feel strange to do anything else.

The contest is a very special day for me, because I can demonstrate my dedication, love for the ocean, and all which is possible. No matter what the result, my dreams have already come true.

Being in Hawaii for 3 times is a blessing!! Waimea is one of my favourite spots in the world, it really taught me how to surf big waves.

The Go Big Project. Location Outerreef

Its nice to see that the past few years every day I’ve learned more. I feel I’ve been inspired and people have helped me do what I believe in, to walk the good path and find my. To see the things and relate with people, it really has taken my surfing to the next level.

This event is important to me cause I can show how much I love, and how much I dedicate my life for surfing.

Its epic to be invited for this event and also to have the chance to show to the world that woman can charge big waves. To show that this is a sport that should be more recognised, that people should give more value in it, and us.

We’re going to show how strong we are and inspire people to follow their dream too, no matter what.
Pipeline — Photo Tyler Rock

I love to overcome my own bounders on surfing, so its gonna be interesting to compete in Waimea this time even knowing that I am not really a competitive person. I will do my best and be thankfull to God and others for the opportunity. I hope we have more contests, and that WSL put Waimea in the big waves tour for us.This would be amazing.

What was the feeling amongst the other competitors?

I think that showing respect to each other.

Photo via Waimia Bay Champ

Who are some of the people that have made this even possible?

God, the big wave surfers girls, Beth, Wrenna, another people that I don’t know and for sure Red Bull for sponsored our first contest.

What make surfing big waves so special?

Big wave surfing is special because works on our three important things that are in our lives, mind, body and soul.

It’s something that you just do if you really want and love. Its not a hero thing, I know that isn’t possible for everyone, not everybody wants this. Surfing big waves was something natural inside of me, I stared admiring people surfing big waves and getting heavy barrels at my beach in Brazil (Itacoatiara beach).

That made me dream about it and then realise that even without many opportunities, money and people in my family that surf.
I start surfing because somehow I was born for it.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

Many people for the last few years inspired me for some reasons. Life is awesome because I have the opportunity to know different soul surfers and be inspired for them.

What does it feel like for a Brazilian to be surfing in Hawaii?

It feels good surfing any place in the world if there is good waves, I don’t care about other people think about me. I show respect and I do my job.

Being being a girl surfing Pipeline second reef is really hard to get the waves that I really want.

Even when is not that big because the crowd is pretty crazy , the bottom is crazy and it’s hard to compete for waves.

Photo by Stella Furlan. Location: JAWS

How is Womans surfing different to mens surfing?

I know that my body is different, they can be physically stronger.

We (women) were created with different characteristics, but I know that both can do what they love and want, so this is what’s important.

Men make me go harder and inspire me to challenge my limits.

What are some of your goals and aspirations?

My goal is have sponsorship that helps me keep working to improve my surfing strengths. I know that if i could chase more swells, and have better equipment I would be a better surfer. My aspiration is to inspire people where ever I go. Showing that with God everything is possible.

I don’t wanna be just a surfer but keep helping people wherever I go with what I have.

I hope some day I can help people with more material things too.

My challenge is to have a good performance on the Queen of the Bay event for now. For next year be competing on the big wave tour, and if God let me be… I wanna be nominated to some of the WSL awards titles, and win.

I wanna also keep being a free surfer chasing barrels, big waves around the globe and make people happy around me.

How do you create and define a beautiful life?

Its very personal. I feel like I have a beautiful life cause I have Jesus in my heart, so I have peace and I fell thankful everyday for just being alive and be seeking his will.

I think my relationship with God teaches me to have a good relationship with my family, friends and people that I meet with my traveling.

I try to show love in all I do, enjoy every day and be thankful.

Photo Megan Costello

Thanks Raquel for sharing your experience of big wave surfing in Hawaii and taking on this huge challenge. Many surfers around the world are going to love hearing about your perspective. By Nick Nelson.

Blueys are here to inspire you, to stay true to an blue way of live. We are Ocean people. We are Blueys..