Jo Pickett is the force behind the Wahine Classic. This is her 6th summer leading the Wahini Classic after it originally began in 1997. Jo is a competitive surfer and a yoga enthusiast who teaches surfing lessons around the world. To read an article about Jo and her surfing family, click here.
Photo credit: Chris Brehmer
Mary Ann Mangiacapre
Amy Rose will serve as co-director for this year’s Wahine Classic, along with Mary Ann Mangiacapre. Amy is the current co-director of the Southern North Carolina division of the Eastern Surfing Association. Amy says she, “loves all her kids, young and old!”
We’re thankful to have Mike Beech serve as our announcer this year. Mike is also the announcer for the SNC ESA.
Kat Neff is returning as an Ambassador for the 2018 Wahine Classic, and we’re thrilled to have her on board. She is the 2018 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) collegiate champion, a two-time East Coast Jr Women Longboard Champ and a three-time ESA Regional Champion. Kat attends the University of North Florida and surfs on their team, She made the dean’s list her freshman year. Currently, she is studying abroad in Spain. Kat surfs pro/amateur on longboard.
We’re grateful to have Leah Thompson, 17, serving as an ambassador for the Wahine Classic again this year. Leah is sponsored by major surf industry brand Rip Curl as a competitor and model, traveling the world for photo shoots and waves, and competing in national amateur events. Leah is a long-time supporter of the Wahine and has won many surfing titles in our event. Leah begin surfing competitively at age 12.
Leah is the creator of a foundation for orphans in Kenya. She plans to have an Amani Bead Sale event at Aussie Island Surf Shop on July 7 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. All proceeds support New Life Homes in Kenya.
Wahine ambassador, Airlie Pickett, @airlie.grace.wb, is currently working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, as an ensign stationed on the NOAA ship Rainier. At the time of this writing, she and her ship are surveying the ocean water off the coast of Alaska, passing through the San Juan Islands en route.
. Airlie is using her physics / physical oceanography degree from UNCW to perform research duties on board, and she will also be diving for NOAA. She has a 5’7” short board in her berth, so she can don her 5/4 mm wetsuit and catch a few iceberg waves!
Airlie grew up surfing the Wahine contest, and we commend her accomplishments and her love for our oceans. She seems to prefer underwater waves now!
Nicole Nason is an avid surfer and ocean enthusiast who releases her first surf documentary, Deeper, in October 2018. You’ll find Nicole filming, surfing, and sailing around Wrightsville, Topsail, and Carolina Beaches. She graduated from UNCW spring of 2016 and is active in the local surf community and eco friendly initiatives.
Emergency Medical Technician, Beach Marshall and Set Up
Craig Newkirk has been a friend to the Wahine Classic for several years and we are so thankful for his support again this year. Craig serves as our EMT and Beach Marshall during the Wahine Classic and he also assists with the set-up of our scaffolding for our judges’ platform. While we take great precautions to have a safe competition, we’re grateful to have Craig available to assist with medical issues during our event.
We’re thankful that Rhonda Yohe is joining us again as our tabulator. Rhonda is also the head tabulator for the SNC ESA.
Johnny is a long time competitor and supporter of SNC ESA.
Many thanks to Eric for helping judge the Wahine this year. He is a judge and competitor for SNC ESA.
We’re thrilled to have Will McEachern as one of our judges this year. Will is avid member and supporter of SNC ESA. He’s also the manager of the 17th St Surf Shop in Wilmington NC, which sponsors Wahine.
We’re excited to have Dylan Stone judging this year. Dylan is a former professional surfer for the Volcom surf brand.
Judge John Sideris began his surfing obsession on the Gulf Coast of Florida in Pensacola Beach. He joined the US Navy in 1969 and survived the Vietnam War on an aircraft carrier taking his surfboard with him out to sea. He had the opportunity to surf San Diego, Hawaii, Philippines, Mombasa in Africa, and many more countries in the Indian Ocean. Today he says he has surfed all but one corner of the US, with one exception — Maine. “You haven’t surfed ’til you are in 32 degree water with ice icicles on your stache.” John has been involved in Eastern Surfing Association since 1979 as a competitor. He’s been judging on and off for 35 years and most recently in the last couple of Eastern’s competitions. To read John’s full resume, click here.
Leilani is a native of Wilmington, NC who grew up surfing at Wrightsville Beach. The first surf competition she participated in was the inaugural East Coast Wahine Championships in 1997. She is an experienced judge who learned at a young age by practicing her judging at contests held by the Eastern Surfing Association. Currently, you can find her on the judging panel at several surfing events every year, including the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.
We welcome Chad Davis as a judge at the Wahine this year. Chad is a South Carolina native, and owns Carolina Surf Brand. He hosts The Carolina Surf Film Festival in NC and SC, annually.
Friday Evening Welcome Committee
Samantha is a Wahine Veteran and reigning Women’s Longboard Champion. She is a Wrightsville Beach native and has been surfing since she was a toddler. Samantha has a very impressive surfing resume which includes numerous District and Regional titles and she is currently East Coast Champion in Womens Longboard and Shortboard in the Eastern Surfing Association. Her sponsors are Hobie Surfboards, South End Surf Shop, SUNdays Cafe, Indo Jax Surf Charities and she is a mentor for the ESA All Star Team. Just in the past couple of years she has been to India, the Middle East, Central America and California spreading the stoke to special needs kids with Indo Jax Surf Charities. Samantha is a graduate with honors of Cape Fear Community College. She is a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do and is a working Actress, Model and Film Maker.
The Wahine Classic is proud to welcome Delilah Hutchins as a 2017 Committee Member. Delilah participated in her first surf camp when she was just four years old and now at age 12, she’s already an experienced surfer. Delilah says that for her, surfing is a family thing. “I’m in the water all the time and my whole family surfs, including my two shredder stepbrothers.” Delilah rides a longboard and a 6’8” fish. In addition to surfing, Delilah is a student, musician and an artist. She plays the guitar and loves to sing. She also loves to hang out with friends, go to the beach and travel. Delilah says, “I can’t wait for this year’s Wahine Classic!”
We’re excited to have Roxanna Chaney joining our team of ambassadors for the Wahine Classic 2017. Born in Northern Virginia, Roxy moved to Colorado when she was 9 years old, and became a competitive ski racer and was ranked fourth nationally in ski cross. To be closer to family, the Chaney family moved to Wrightsville Beach in 2015. Roxy has fallen in love with riding waves ever since. She participated in the Wahine Classic in August of 2016 and cherished the incredible vibe of the competition. Roxy currently attends Isaac Bear Early College.
For registration help, questions, sponsorship information and more, please contact us.