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Showing posts from 2015

Carissa Moore is the World Champion. Again.

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And here's one of the waves she caught in the final (when she already knew she was the world champion).



Seriously an inspiring athlete.

And woman.

Whatever, The Inertia.

As much as I'm loathe to contribute even slightly to this article getting any more attention than it's click-bait style writing aims to achieve, I still really want to say to Alex Haro and the rest of The Inertia editorial staff, 'Are you fucking serious?'

'3 Reasons How Surfing Can Make You Into A Full Blown Sex Machine' not only hacks at rules of grammar, but is also an actual article that The Inertia published on their website.

So if/when you go ahead and click to read this piece of crap, lad's mag style, stereotype-filled 'comedy' piece,  keep in mind that it's written by the Senior Editor at The Inertia, a website that has variously described itself as 'The Thinking Surfer's Website', and the 'Definitive Surfing Community'.

The Inertia is a website that flits unreflexively between publishing strong articles that highlight and argue against the sexism, homophobia and racism that can be so common in surfing culture and med…

Gwyn Haslock surfs in Cornwall

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So, I know it has been around for a while, and I also hate that this is ultimately advertising but this little film is pretty great:



Some super interesting points that help highlight how and why surfing was possible or not for women in the past. For example, the capacity to carry their own surfboard (which was limited by the weight and length) and the limited number of other women participating.

Fingers crossed I get to live and surf as long as Gwyn.

Not pretty, not perfect, not warm

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The last couple of months, the weather has been pretty crappy here, making it hard to get outside to run, to walk and to generally be outdoors. To be fair, it has been winter. But last weekend there were some wonderful, sunshine-y breaks in the weather. Sadly these didn't include any waves - through circumstance and timing, I hadn't surfed in weeks, but I feel pretty zen about that these days. There'll always be more waves, and in the meantime I still got to go for a long walk.

I rarely check the surf before I go for a walk, so I always wonder if when I get to the top of the hill if I'm going to see anything tempting below me. A few times I've crested the hill and found myself running the kilometre or two home to get my board and rush back to the beach, or kicking myself for not being more organised.


Other times I've been floored by the crazy, messy ocean in front of me - whitewash as far as I can see.


Last weekend was somewhere in between. It wasn't nice, …

Speechless

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I haven't written much on my blog this year. I've wanted to but the stories didn't seem to flow from my brain into words on the screen the way I've always found they have. It's not writer's block because I've been writing lots of other things in other places, so perhaps my word count got used up. Or something. I don't know. But I think about it a lot because I really love writing this blog. Actually, I really love writing.

But I have a couple of stories I want to share from today and last weekend, so I'll write them up over the next couple of days.

In the mean time, how beautiful is Aotearoa!!





Published without comment

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Only because I'm feeling equal parts 'ugh', 'meh' and impressed.



On her Instagram post, the surfer, Maud Le Car, says she lost a bet hence the get up. But the clip description on YouTube is a but more political:

"Being a sexy pro surfer is one thing and being a skilled and accomplished pro surfer is another...

Pro surfer Maud Le Car wants you to know that female pro surfers can look glamor and talented at the same time. She wants to prove that surfing is not just about glamor. Surfing is one of the most physically demanding sports there today."

I'm not entirely convinced of what kind of awareness it raises, but you know. I get it.

Oh look, I made comment!


Where will it end?

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Hopefully it ends very soon...

I've been avoiding watching this clip all day but it got sent to me in an email* and, after watching it, I can honestly say I have seen few things more pointless and lame and irritating than that clip. The money, the time, the image of a Red Bull sponsored guy gunning past a woman on a SUP and Tahitian men in a waka is mortifying.

It is everything I hate about Red Bull sponsored everything, in one tidy clip.



When I watched this clip, I didn't see the new horizons of human endeavour. Instead all I saw was a waste of money, time and human capacity and ingenuity. And this is coming from someone who believes in art, music and sport.

Near the end I was actively cheering on the heaving wall of whitewash, wishing it would engulf that fool and smash his stupid contraption, but then I realised that if it did, petrol would flood into the crystal waters in that lagoon. How was this even a thing that happened in this place? How did they even get permission?

That's some kinda film clip, Bahamas

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All the best things are via Toddy.

I'm 100% going to watch this: Redux

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I'm a passionate advocate for voting in elections. Although I don't always like the choices I have on offer, I still go along whenever I have the opportunity to participate in the form of democracy that we have on offer, to make sure that I have contributed to the formation of government. Along with paying tax, I see voting as one of the few responsibilities we have in return for living in a safe, prosperous society. At the very least, I feel that voting gives me the right to whinge about politics. Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for elections.

Over the years, I've wondered if the apathy Australians (and many others) feel about their right to vote - seeing it as a bother rather than a power - is due to the fact that as a nation we didn't have to fight for it and thus take it for granted. This morning I remembered that's a load of crap. Most people except land-owning white men had to wait and often argue for the right to vote, including, of course, wome…

I am 100% going to watch this

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Confession: I love action films.

As in, they're one of the few things in life that makes me happy to momentarily throw aside my politics and critical thinking and just get lost in the insanely problematic maelstrom of explosions, car chases, violence, and special effects. I don't even need a plausible plot! I just love the total craziness of it all. That's not to say that I don't notice all the propaganda, sexism, racism and homophobia because you know I do. I so, so do. And it's not to say that I don't want the film industry to find ways to fix all of that stuff up. And of course all of this is something that is hotly debated online: Mad Max: Fury Road has certainly inspired some good debate and media around that, any film by Joss Wheadon* is also an opener of worm cans, and The Hawkeye Initiative sure highlights the degree to which comics and superhero films treat women really terribly. Of course, I think through all the issues later on and think of ways that…

Sexism: It can happen on a beach, it can happen in the air, it can happen anywhere :)

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One of my favourite things about New Zealand is their national airline, which has these great safety videos that take a totally different and engaging approach to seat-belts, emergency lighting and the brace position. Honestly, they're clever and funny and engaging and you actually want to watch them. Let me repeat that: You want to watch the safety video the whole way through. If you don't believe me, you can visit their YouTube channel, where they have all of these safety videos for public consumption.Think about that for a second.

A couple of months ago, there was on that made me feel pretty uncomfortable. It was all Swimsuit Illustrated girls and women in bikinis. They played on the bimbo stereotype, twirling their hair and doing their makeup, all in bikinis. I suppose that's okay on paper. I mean it's sexist, but pretty standard. But the experience of sitting next to people watching sexualised images of women for our entertainment and consumption - on a safety vid…

I would want to go, but... I'm not sure I could.

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So I know I talk a lot about the inherent sexism in surfing, especially in surf media. I know I also talk a lot about how social media offers a way for individual surfers to make their own decisions about the kinds of images they post and promote in relation to surfing and life more generally. I've been pretty stoked on how social media has contributed loads of new representations of women and women's surfing - @babesonwaves is a great example of this. Of course, it can also be used to sing the same song of butt shots etc, so don't think I'm saying it's all rosy, but still, there is lots of potential and lots of cool things happening. So when I see images like the one below being used to promote a really great cause, and being re-posted by people who want to sincerely want to promote that event, I get bummed out.


I found this image on Kassia Meador's Instagram site, which she uses in part to promote her new wetsuit range (which is pretty great, by the way). I d…

April chill

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It's not summer here anymore. The days are getting shorter, the mornings are crisp and tonight... tonight, I turned on the heater in my bedroom. 
To be honest, I've been looking forward to hunkering down in these colder months. I'm on of those people who feels guilty sleeping any time that it's not dark, so the long, relentless, sunny days have left me feeling very tired. Also, summer is always so busy, which is wonderful but I'm ready to stop. I'm ready to spend a lot of time on my couch, listening to tunes, slowly cooking my dinner, which has the added bonus of warming my little house.*
Of course, the cold brings other benefits too, the first one being 'waves', the second being 'fewer people'. 
(Photo by the very clever Kath Bicknell)

*Footnote

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*And with that in mind, all hail soup!

In my dream

So, I had the weirdest dream the other night.

I know that is about the creepiest way that anyone can start a story, but, well, I did.

I'm not going to go into details - listening to other peoples' dream is usually pretty irritating - but the crux of it is that I came upon a group exercise class, but it was really, really fit people who were training really hard. And then I looked and noticed that one of the people working out was Kelly Slater. But, because he is so fit and wanted to work out so hard, instead of shoes he was wearing mini, round balance boards on his feet. Not shoes with inflated, rounded soles, but actual small balance boards with inflated, rounded balls underneath.

Not surprisingly, he seemed pretty intense about his training, so I avoided talking to him. But he really was impressively fit! I guess if you're at a point where you're wearing balance balls for shoes, you're a fair bit further along the fitness spectrum than I am.

Balance board shoes. …

The future is here and.... nooooooooo!

So, today, for the first time ever, I saw someone out in the lineup PULL THEIR iPHONE OUT OF THEIR BOARDSHORTS AND CHECK THEIR MESSAGES! Not voicemail, but texts or emails or social media or the swell report or something.

Say what now?

He never took a photo, never took a call, but while I was out there I saw him check his phone a few times and it totally bummed me out.

I'm guessing that people using their mobiles in the water is going to increasingly become a thing, and I've been sadly trying to comes to some kind of terms with it for a while because one of the things that I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really love about surfing is that it's forced time away from that stuff. Like flying where you can could just sit back and do other things because you can't couldn't check your emails. It's like when I go for an after-work walk and don't take my phone unless I want to take pictures. I have a …

Women who run with the tides

When it comes to talking about improving the visibility, representation and opportunities for women in surfing, one of the common points made is that 'Women need more role models'. And it's a fair point. Until recently, only the most high-performance, most successful and/or prettiest female surfers were given media coverage, with others left out because they're 'not good enough' or 'too butch'. Of course, historically the people making those comments and value judgements (How does being 'butch' impact a woman's surfing abilities or value? And what does it matter if someone is 'butch' anyway?) have largely been male magazine editors and marketing directors. These days we have a lot more women in all sorts of roles in surf media and representations of women have improved, all of which is awesome, but there is still an alarming emphasis on youth, beauty and sex appeal.

For younger women I think the high-performance, everyone's-gorge…

This girl surfs

My clever friend, Holly, showed me this short film yesterday. From the Youtube post:
Oumaima Erhali is a 17-year-old Moroccan woman determined to surf. She’s part of a generation pushing boundaries in a country where many believe a surfboard is no place for a young Muslim woman. But Oumaima won’t let stereotypes hold her back from the sport she loves or the life she wants to lead.



The boy's journey

If you know anything about surf blogs, then you know that the best of all of them is The Endless Bummer NY. Toddy (and co.'s) view of surfing has taught me a lot about what surfing is, how it fits into our sense of self, and where it can be found in our everyday lives.

While he always seems to have some awesome surf project or other on the go, Toddy's latest film is something quite close to home - teaching his son about surfing. This isn't just a 'how to surf' education, but is about the ways of seeing the world that come with a relationship to surfing culture, experiences, history, technology, places and people. As I watch my niece grow into surfing through her own love of the beach and waves as well as watching and copying me, I've been intrigued to see what she adopts and how my own approaches to surfing are absorbed into shaping her own. It's a pretty awesome thing to weave into your relationship with the kids in your life, that's for sure.



As Toddy…

Duke's Day

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If you live in Sydney are have no plans over the next couple of days, you might like to check out the Duke's Day centenary celebrations of Duke Kahanamoku's surfing demonstration at Freshwater.


There are a bunch of events and talks on, and I'm pretty stoked to be part of it too. As per usual, I'm on a panel that is called The Women of Surfing and Swimming (as though every other panel is about men!), but there are some cool women participating, so I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say. I also get to talk with Jemma Piggott, Nick Carroll and Phil Jarratt about surfer and water woman, Isabel Letham, which is pretty exciting. I've talked about how awesome Isabel is on this blog before, but I'm looking forward to learning loads more about her from Jemma, whose passion for Isabel's legacy is unparalleled.

Anyway, if you're there and you see me, please come and say hello!