Over the years, I've talked to a lot of women who surf. Like, a lot. I've learned a lot. Like, a lot. But most of my knowledge is of women who surf in places where is pretty warm and where you can easily get into the sea year round. As in, you just need a 3/2 and you're set.
I've made no secret over the years that I'm in equal parts intrigued and confused by those who manage to surf all year in places where it's cold, where you really have to love surfing in order to keep getting suited up and into the sea over the winter, and sometimes in the summer too!
One of the things that has come up in my conversations with many women who surf, is that they are not so into the cold. They tend to drop off their surfing in the winter, or they didn't bother to learn until they moved to a warmer place. They just weren't interested in the cold. Maybe it's just us wimpy, summer-loving Australians who are so adverse? And of course, I'm sure there are a bunch of men whose surfing is equally as negotiated by the cold, but I haven't asked them that question as much, so I can't really talk about that. But it's meant that I've always really admired the women who stick it out when it's cold. It's also a capacity I'm proud to discover in myself here in NZ. (Although, it's actually pretty mild where I am. Really.)
For a whole bunch of reasons when we think about surfing in cold places, women don't tend to feature. I think that possibly they're less interested? That there are fewer surfers and thus fewer female surfers in colder places. I mean, I'd be less likely to learn if it was cold! The lack of a bikini might have something to do with it to - women and girls who live in warm places are getting more and more photos, but outside of comp photos, images of women surfing in wetsuits remain less common. It might be that cold places remain less photographed and filmed as well! Like I said, there are a bunch of reasons.
So this film project, She and the Sea, is a step to exploring the experiences of women who do step up to surfing when it's cold - when it's cold and windy and snowing!!
The project is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to gather funds to help with filming costs. I know that the crew are about to head off on their trip up the coast, so this need for money is pressing.
What I like especially like about this project is that part of the process of filming and production is to give back to the communities they encounter. To develop relationships with people and places by spending time with them, teaching and learning from them, and being creative with them. This way it will produce a number of things - not just a film - that will be able to give many different perspectives on the project, and tell different aspects of the story.
If you would like to contribute, you can go to the She and the Sea page and donate. Like all Kickstarter projects, you get a little back for your donation, so have a look through the options.