Female Surfers around the world share their stories on how they began surfing and how it changed their lives.
IT'S TIME TO REWRITE THAT NARRATIVE AND START
ENABLING WOMEN TO BELIEVE THEY CAN SHRED AS HARD AS THE GUYS AND NOT BY ADOPTING ANY EXTRA AGGRESSION, BUT BY
EMBRACING OUR FEMININE STRENGTH.
Q.> When did you start surfing?
A.> I started surfing when I was 22, just in the final year of my Art degree.
Q.> Who or what inspired you to start surfing?
A.> I had been surfing occasionally before, but it wasn't until I met my partner that he really gave me the confidence I needed to commit to buying a board and a wetsuit and just getting out there as often as I could.
I had always wanted to start but for whatever reason I just needed a push to really begin. I guess I've learnt now not to wait in for life to give me a reason, but just to take the first step, which is always the hardest for me.
It's easy to look at people doing something and say 'oh I wish I could do that'. Well, you can.
Q.> Did it change your life in some way?
A.> It's pretty much reshaped my life as I knew it before, which sounds drastic but it's true. I knew that I always wanted to travel but now it has become the driving force behind leaving my country and exploring the world. I could only see myself living by the ocean now, wherever I am. Which I guess is a massive reshaping of my previously land-dwelling life.
Q.> What have you discovered through surfing?
A.> A huge factor which stopped me from learning to surf was fear and anxiety. It was really hard to start with as I would spend the entire time worrying about the ocean and what might happen to me. It took me a good year of surfing to finally let that go.
Every surf would force me to overcome all the thoughts of anxiety in my head. Some people practice meditation or yoga, but for me I found that through surfing I've really learnt to deal with my anxiety. I'm definitely a more confident and capable person now. That's the great thing about surfing, it can really transform your mental state.
It continues to help me now as I progress and surf in bigger conditions, it becomes the same challenge. You think that it might be too big for you, or that you wouldn't be able to handle it. But you just get out there, and when you do get smashed around, you just get back on your board and keep paddling.
"IT'S EASY TO LOOK AT PEOPLE DOING SOMETHING AND SAY
'OH I WISH I COULD DO THAT'
WELL, YOU CAN."
Q.>What does it mean to be a female surfer?
A.> I think it's pretty well known that surfing is a hugely male dominated sport. The challenging nature of surfing can mean that females can be made to feel that they're not strong or powerful enough to handle the conditions of the ocean.
Those stereotypes are rife throughout the surf industry, it's no secret that female surfers in competition always end up with heats during the worst conditions and only until recently, received much less in prize money. -You only have to watch an advert by any of the well known surf brands to notice that the female surfer always seem to be prancing around on the beach in bikinis or sitting on long boards laughing while the dudes are totally shredding waves.
It really grinds my gears that these surf brands are not empowering women and just trying to peddle incredibly sub- par and impractical wetsuits and bikinis. It's time to rewrite that narrative and start enabling women to believe they can shred as hard as the guys, and not through adopting any extra aggression, but by embracing our feminine strength. And also, let's have a surfing brand that focuses on quality and practicality in its equipment rather than fashion and colourful patterns.
Q.> How often would you surf in your ideal life? Why?
A.> Everyday! It's fun, it's awesome exercise and it keeps life in perspective. When you feel a bit frazzled you get out into the cold ocean and reset.
Q.> Do you imagine yourself surfing when you're 70?
A.> 100%. Use it or lose it - I wanna stay healthy and happy as long as I can. And who else is going to teach my grandchildren how to surf!