Posts

The eugenics of surfing

Image
Surfing is one of the great joys of my life.* Being outside, at the beach, riding waves, spending time alone or with friends, encountering all kinds of animals, being away from my computer and phone - it's a feeling of freedom and joy that I find in precious few other activities. The very thought of being in the water and riding waves makes me feel good.

But while the joy of surfing is the biggest part of it, darkness, discrimination and exclusion are a large part of going surfing too. These cultural aspects - human wrought - are by far the worst of surfing; worse than the fear of sharks, of wipeouts, of fin cuts.

The violence and anger, the sense of entitlement, the commitment to exclusivity that some surfers layer over the pleasures they find in riding waves is the worst of surfing. We've all seen, experienced or practised this to varying degrees, and we've all likely turned our heads at times as well, hoping it will go away, hoping the victim will go away. It's not …

'A Lunar Cycle': Easkey Britton in the ocean

Image
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*

Image
*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 friendship 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 wh…

A Zine for Water People

Image
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!

Image
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…

Noice

Image
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

Image
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…