What else can be said. Only surf for a year. Go on hols with friends. Lousy grey rainy days with huge scary swells. Then one day it drops right down and I discover the break at Washerwomans. The kid’s are happy. I’m happy. I’m in the lineup next to Pam Burridge and a 10 yr old girl who’s completely out surfing me. I was happy just to make it out frankly.
When I was a teenage wannabe surfer in Newcastle, there weren’t other girls surfing. There weren’t surf schools. I didn’t have any support. Or the right gear. I dragged around a 2nd hand 6’10 pinnose pintail board that no one else wanted on public transport or walked/biked 7 km. I wore baggy boys board shorts or an oversized spring suit. And this was the mid 70s.
As Burridge says about the early surf culture in Australia in SMH interview in 2006, “Surfie chicks” were chased out of the water to mind the towels. The few girls who did surf were ridiculed for being “too male”, too butch.
It didn’t help that they were wearing men’s board shorts and wetsuits, says Burridge, who remembers only six girls surfing along Sydney’s entire northern beaches in the 1980s.
“It was probably a year before anyone realised I was a girl. I was just another little kid in board shorts,” says the 40-year-old of learning at Manly beach.
“By the time I was a teenager, I was good enough to have earned my spot on the waves.”
At the time, says Burridge, girls’ surfwear ranges were all G-string bikinis and wetsuits that zipped down the front, so you could show off your cleavage like the girls in the Bond movies. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that outstanding US surfer Lisa Andersen suggested to her sponsor, Quicksilver, that it turn out clothing girls could actually surf in. Women’s surf gear now drives the global industry.
My first return to surfing – seven mile beach surf camp 4 or 5 years ago. I haven’t improved much yet.
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Tagged Me, Surfing
There’s a lot in the paper today about Layne Beachley. She is a phenomenal surfer. Her personal life has not been easy but she’s won 7 straight world titles. Perhaps her resilience has helped. You need to have some powerful focus AND work like a bitch to do that.
While Layne is not surfing or writing or whatever else she does (photo from Aquabumps – Coogee 2004), she has launched the Aim for the Stars foundation. My eldest daughter applied for support when she was competing internationally without any sponsorship and we were really impressed.
“Aim for the Stars offers moral and financial support to all of you who have the passion and desire to accomplish your goals and who aren’t afraid to ask for help along the way. So take a wander through the site and find out how you can become a part of this fantastic initiative. “
As far as I know, Layne is one of the few women who has been able to put money where her heart is and open doors for other aspiring young women. Not only in sports but across arts and the community.
I hope you get another world title or two, Layne, but you rate an amazing 4 SWORDS here regardless. Maybe you can give me some pointers in the surf one day, cause I surely need some. Some paddling muscles would be handy too.