'A Lunar Cycle': Easkey Britton in the ocean

I remember a time when I rolled my eyes at the idea of new surf films as they arrived on the scene. For so long, surf films told the same story over and over and over and over, and over and over and over. I stopped watching them.

But that changed, and I had to start to eat my cynicism. Surf films got diverse. They got interesting.

Part of this is the acceptance of new people as surfing's storytellers; letting surfing be more than men, more than sunshine, more than grunting descriptions of getting barrelled and feeling stoked, more than roadtrips, more than power turns, late drop ins and airs. New stories about surfing that suggested surfing was more than the worst of it.

Well hello there, A Lunar Cycle.

You might have heard about the latest offering in this new world of surf films, that was directed by Andrew Kaineder, and written by and featuring Irish surfer, Easkey Britton. If you haven't heard of Easkey, then you haven't been paying much attention to surfing culture in…

Laura Crane has skin in the game: a surf story in five parts*

*The title of this essay is inspired by Kylie Maslen's recent article about women's sport, 'Skin in the Game'. The essay itself is dedicated to my friends in the Institute of Women's Surfing (Europe), with my thanks for sharing your stories and friends and resources.

I. Oh hey, surf media! Surf media is such an interesting world.

I used to consume it voraciously, reading everything I could find - every book, magazine, website, and blog. I was trying to understand it, to understand the world it was describing, to see the patterns and themes as well as the points of difference and resistance. I wasn't out to create a typology or anything like that, but to get my head around what it is that we say to ourselves as writers, editors, photographers and readers. I wanted to know who was talking and who might be reading and to know what was missing from these stories; to find the gaps.

It didn't take long for me to turn away from mainstream print magazines, in which…

A Zine for Water People

It's a truth universally acknowledged that social media can be a real drag. Arguments, comparisons, bitchiness, nastiness, narcissism and more all play out across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs and more. I've had my fair share of shitty social media interactions, but what I've found is that it doesn't have to be that way.

Most of my experiences on social media has been really positive, and I've made some wonderful connections over the years with wonderful people. I've met so many folk through blogging and Instagram, and are people I care about and have various relationships with. Like me, Jamie, Toddy, Mick, Sarah and Felix are people you might have come across on your digital travels, and they are people I've come to care about and to , different degrees, to know. For me, these relationships are some of the best of social media.

I love connecting with people and projects in various places around the world, and being able to watch their work develop a…

It's always worth asking!

I follow lots (and lots) of surfing accounts on Instagram. Lots. Many of these are focused on and run by women, but I also follow lots of other general surf sites and magazines. Most of the general sites follow the usual pattern of not including much content about women, which is annoying and always stands out to me. Of course.

The other day, I saw an interesting post on the account @oldsurfermags. The post was a collection of ten of the most liked images that have been posted by the (I'm assuming) male administrator, Chris Allen.

While I still had hopes, the most liked images, not surprisingly, were all of men. The images are amazing, but I felt a bit bummed. Instead of stewing in my bummed-ness though, I commented on the post:

(Before I go on, let's take a moment to enjoy my excellent typo! Hahaha.)
I don't comment a lot on posts link this way (although there was one occasion that I did and got into a discussion with Kelly Slater about trans bodies, but that's a stor…


So this is to be one of my new favourite images of women's surfing...
Surfer is Ashleigh Browne and photo is by Kane Brown
(click their names for links to their Instagram accounts)
Screen shot by me and my phone!

Still breathing

When people ask me what I think about Tim Winton's books, I always answer that he writes incredibly beautiful landscapes. He really, really does.

But for me, like many women I know, Winton's books are difficult to read, because his portrayals of women tend to paint them as either prudish or damaged. The men and boys in his stories - always coming of age it seems - are much more complex and nuanced characters, but his women and girls are simple, borderlining on tropes.
I'm not suggesting Winton doesn't like women though! He talks often about the women in his life, and how his sisters taught him to surf. Winton knows and loves women well, it's just that this doesn't seem to translate into his stories, which makes it difficult for me to read them, let alone like them.
With the release of the film version of Breath, directed by Simon Baker, all of this was driven home even more strongly. 

Here is a story about men, in which women are trouble or bit players, used to…

Stupid women (Always in the way)

I’ve been surfing again lately. Not as much as I’d like, but surfing. In fact, I managed to surf twice this week! Twice! Once down on the Gold Coast and on Sunday, up on the Sunshine Coast. To my shame, I still don’t know the coastlines of south east Queensland very well, so it’s always very hit and miss for me in terms of where I go and why. Since I surf so little at the moment, mostly I’m just happy to get in the water anyway.
In the past, I use to avoid the Gold Coast, because it has a reputation for a localised, aggressive, male-dominated, shortboard culture. There have been many surf reports of violence there over the years, and the things I’ve often read in surf media and research spaces have deepened these assumptions. When it’s come up as an option, the idea of surfing there made me nervous in advance. But I’ve surfed there a bit over the years – at Currumbin and Burleigh and Rainbow and Snapper and Duranbah – and I’ve never had any experiences to back this up. I’m on a longboa…