Do women surf much?

Because I know so little about it (i.e. nothing at all) this surfing stuff fascinates me… Excuse my naïve question, but do women surf much? Is it a male-dominated thing?

This comment appeared at the bottom of one of petebowes’ beautifully written and amusing posts the other day, and I can’t really figure out whether I’m shocked, upset or kind of flattered by this question. I can’t figure out whether it’s an indictment on the ways that women are almost invisible in representations of surfing both in Australia and beyond, whether I’m sad because apparently so few women surf that they escape the notice not only of surfing culture but also of Australian beach-goers, or whether this is evidence that women are the new counter-culture of surfing: edgy, underground and unknown.

What I do know is, and what I like to say in response is that yes, women surf much. Also, yes, surfing is male-dominated, but that despite this women are a vibrant, enthusiastic and dedicated membership of surfing contributing along with the guys to the ways it is growing, developing and changing into the 21st century.

The short answer: women surf.


  1. ok' bec - the next one's for you - but it won't be what you expect - and thanks for the nice words, you flatterer

  2. I love that pic
    much love bec.XXxx

  3. Pete, believe me when I say that I removed my expectations as soon as I suggested you write something about women in the surf. I know better than that...

    And Brett, I LOVE that pic too. That was such a great day xx

  4. I love that pic too!

  5. it's up bec - bit of a glimpse / pete

  6. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Oh dear, I feel I've caused an international surfing incident. Blame it on my sheltered upbringing and the fact that I live in an English village - not much surfing happening on the village green here!I'm glad women surf! Not glad that it's male-dominated - although I like the sound of 'edgy, underground and unknown'. Glad to have met you, Rebecca.

  7. Oh no! Don't worry about any of that - there's no incident. It's a momentary puff of wind in the sails. And I thought you're comment was interesting, not naive. Not at all! Glad to have met you too.

  8. Karen8:33 PM

    Edgy, underground and unknown? I'll go with that. If only.

  9. It's a sad state of affairs really isn't it, women were at the forefront of early surfing in the UK - where did it all go wrong? There was quite a big deal made in the press a few weeks ago about Agatha Christie being a pioneer of British surfing!

  10. I still think about all this stuff a lot (obviously). I often hear people say that women surfed up until the 70s/80s in Australia and then they 'disappeared'. This 'disappearance' needs some investigation to find out what happened and what might have contributed to women stopping (or being excluded from?) surfing.

    When I see stories from the past about women surfing, I get stoked that there is one more bit of evidence that women have surfed for a long time.


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