Showing posts from 2017

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…

2nd Annual Rockaway Beach Bodysurfing Contest

Following yesterday's NYC post about Ice Cream Headaches, I poached this from Toddy! The contest was back in September 9th, but I've been doing some catch-up blog stalking this weekend:

2nd Annual Rockaway Beach Bodysurfing Contest from Noah Clothing on Vimeo.

My favourite bits are people running in fins, and way the person in the blue hat gets a wave at about 1.10. I also like seeing the view from the water, back on to the developed world just beyond the sand. It's like the Gold Coast, but without the green hinterland. I also love to know what the view from the water is.

Ice Cream Headaches

Given my experiences with Kurungabaa, I'm always keen to support an interesting project about surfing.

Ice Cream Headaches,a book and photo project about surfing in New York, is the latest one that captured my attention. To be honest, being a city dweller myself, any project about city-related surfing grabs my attention, and New York surfing culture in particular, bucks the ideals of surfing in pristine nature, of surfing in warm, clear waters, of surfing as accessible. New York has a strong coastal culture and the beaches look amazing. While it sure looks like it has an enthusiastic surf crew, but actually surfing it does not look so easy.

This project is focused on folk who live and surf in New York, telling surfing the city's stories through their experiences. The two chaps producing it have a crowd-funding page for the production of the book, offering a range of options from throwing in some cash to pre-purchasing books, t-shirts, art prints, and even surf lessons!

I don…

Sitting wide

I was surfing recently at a spot that I often avoid as it's mostly populated by aggressive shortboarders. They were sitting so deep and are constantly playing for the inside position, a game that left most of them in the wrong spot to take off and miss the section of wave that crumbled and filled up. On the other side of the section, the waves ran much further and longer and cleaner and formed fast little sections to play in before they closed out. This didn't stop the crew from still sitting deep and hassling each other and then pumping their way along the face, trying to gain speed to get around the close-out section. As a longboarder, and as a someone who can generally (and unnecessarily) lack confidence in their surfing, the inside was not an option for me. Longboards are not welcome, and not making a wave is not an option.

Instead, I sat wide, out on the shoulder.
I was sitting wide for more reasons than my board and my ability though. I was sitting wide because I don’t l…

The Ocean Doesn't Care

I first moved to Brisbane from Byron Bay to take up a PhD opportunity in 2008. It would be a gross understatement to say I was not thrilled about the move at the time, but I was thrilled about the chance to undertake my study (about women's surfing). Putting surfing first was not making me happy. Living where I did meant  limited job opportunities, and I was bored. I'm not saying my life was boring, nor that life in Byron Bay is boring. I'm saying that I was bored.

But the transition from surfing every day to a much more a mediated surfing life was not easy. I was over an hour from the closest break and I was poor as you can imagine, so I couldn't regularly afford the petrol money. I couldn't just take off when I wanted, but often had to wait until I could get away, so I often got skunked on the surf as well. Getting shit waves might not have too much of an effect when you can surf all the time, but when it's rare that you get into the sea, it can really bite.

The dangers of a Boys' Club

This is not new, but it is great, so I thought it was worth sharing.

As great as it is, there is stillnothing new in this clip that women haven't been saying for a long time now.In a way it strikes at the heart of the difficulty of how it's possible to get things to change.

We too fear being excluded.

Women can't fix this. Women have been doing what they can to participate, be visible, create new content, promote each others' achievements, build their own skills, push their own edges. Women fighting for change is not the problems. Instead, women's bodies, femininity and skills are still seen as the 'problem', and it is up to men to change their own minds and hearts, to change their responses to women's participation.

By highlighting the challenges for women to participate, at the way the accusation that fear of exclusions keeps the culture closed to difference, this clips hints at the challenges for many others to participate freely and safely as well.



Photographer unknown but via: Surfemme Magazine,Instagram feed

Memorialise this! - Politics of inclusion in surfing history

My home town, Byron Bay, is renowned for the number of women who surf there. It’s a point of pride that at some breaks it’s not unusual for women to outnumber men, and women also shape the aesthetic associated with Byron – nonchalance, femininity, grace, colour, and an unashamed preference for smaller peelers. You will have seen this in the many, many, many images and videos and stories of women surfing there, and the many, many, many Instagram posts by women of them on the beach, with familiar lines north coast hinterland acting as a backdrop across the bay.

Women’s surfing in Byron is a robust and highly visible affair, and this has meant opportunities for women to start out here in the surf industry, taking roles or building businesses of their own as surfers, social media celebrities, photographers, surf wear producers, writers, and even researchers! If you took women away from lineups today, all you’d have left is a 1980s issue of a Tracks magazine shoot, and a lot of confused an…