I find myself coming to the conclusion that being a female professional surfer isn't always what it's cracked up to be, especially if you're not straight.

I find myself coming to the conclusion that being a female professional surfer isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, especially if you’re not straight. Photo: Clare Pluekhahn

The Inertia

Earlier this year, around the time of the inaugural Australian Open of Surfing in Manly, I found myself at a friend-of-a-friend’s barbecue. Of the twelve or so guests, my girlfriend and I were the only ones who weren’t female professional surfers. I didn’t need to be told. Many of them had made appearances in my life before, carving across the pages of one of the surfing mags piled up next to my bed or grinning at me from a window display as I bought Havaianas.

On the balcony of an ultra-modern holiday rental property overlooking one of Australia’s iconic beaches, we sat around a table spread with organic meat, quinoa salads and wine – for those who weren’t competing the next day – chatting and swapping stories. At some point it emerged that everyone in the group was either sitting next to their girlfriend, an ex, or a future love interest. Despite resenting the ways in which queer women are stereotyped, I was ashamedly surprised by this little matrix of same-sex attraction: you would be hard-pressed to find such long, blonde hair and deep tans in a straight club on a Saturday night, let alone a gay one. Nevertheless, being surfers ourselves, my girlfriend and I were enamored with these women and their lifestyle.

Then, the wine dried up, the sun went down, and it was over. We spent the whole drive home talking about these women; their travel plans, their quivers, their free clothes and surf gear, their tans, and their good looks. It seemed like they had it all.

Having gotten to know these girls better over the last few months, the illusion of ‘it all’ has been washed away. Instead, I find myself coming to the conclusion that being a female professional surfer isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, especially if you’re not straight.


Women’s surfing is in trouble. While society is slowly moving forward in regards to women’s and queer rights, the surfing industry is stuck in a time warp, somewhere between Puberty Blues and the Bra Boys. Reliant upon and driven by its sponsors, professional surfing has become entwined with the marketability of surf culture, and the results are disastrous, particularly for women. To the detriment of some of the world’s most talented athletes, femininity and heterosexuality remain pre-determinants of sponsorship and media attention, and often, one’s ability to succeed in the sport.

With sponsorship drying up, no one is chomping at the bit to ‘out’ themselves or bad-mouth the industry, so respect the fact that the surfers I have spoken to have chosen to remain anonymous. Just know that between them they have 12 years experience of being in the ASP Women’s Top 17.

The Reality of Being a Female Pro Surfer

You may have heard it all before, but just to re-hash, the costs of competing as a professional surfer are huge, regardless of gender. One surfer I spoke to lost her main sponsor in 2011, and had to choose between funding her time on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Tour out of her own pocket, or giving up her dream of winning a world title. She picked surfing, and estimates that it cost her about $50,000 for the year. The occasional novelty check is only the icing on the cake and by no means enough to cover costs. To fund a career in professional surfing, let alone make a living, surfers are forced to turn to sponsorship; a reliance that has both blessed and plagued all surfers with dreams of going big.

While the ASP governs the industry and sanctions all the events, sponsors play a key role in funding these events and financing prospective competitors – a task mainly taken on by the “Big Three”: Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver. This is where gender kicks in. Being businesses, the sponsors are motivated by high returns, and when it comes to profitability, women’s surfing struggles. Women’s events only draw a fraction of the crowds that the men’s events do, so they receive a fraction of the funding, and in the wake of the GFC, the gap between the number of events scheduled for men compared to women is only widening.

When it comes to the female surfers themselves, their viability to a brand is often tied up with how they look. As far as target markets go, there are relatively few women who surf in the world, so while the boys are celebrated for their skill and strength as surfers, the girls’ appeal is stretched to fit a more broad, mainstream audience. As one of the surfers (hereafter referred to as BBB) told me, “It’s all about marketing. If you appeal to a greater market they are going to hold onto you.”

BBB explains how the women are coaxed down one of two paths. They are either pawned off to the already established audience of male surfers, by keeping the sporting element but adding an Alana Blanchard variety of sex-appeal to make up for a perceived deficit in skill, or, turned into a lifestyle symbol for young, non-surfing females. Either way, their surfing takes a back seat. “They came to me and said ‘we don’t know how to market you’” says BBB, who was “forced to femme up” when she entered the industry at 19, and ditch the board-shorts for a bikini. She doesn’t seem too stoked about this but is resigned to the fact that it helped pay the bills, and tells me that it was something she never took personally. “They own your arse… the person is taken out of the equation when you become a product; you lose your privacy and become other people’s property and that’s it, you accept that.” As Tetsuhiko Endo highlights, when you contact company reps for comment on the matter they will either decline or refuse to answer: “Very few people in the industry want to go on record to even discuss the notion of a double standard. The surf world is too small and too conservative.”

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  • Excellent article. It’s important to know about this. I am only someone who watches other people surf (though recently I started learning). I’ve been doin that for many years – oh how I avoid the word fan, which is one of my least favorite. In the last years, from the outside, it’s quite clear the investment to portray female professional surfers as these young attractive girls, in bikinis, cheerful all the time, that somehow have a “girly” quality to them, as if they are monolithic. And I’ve even seen this kind of portraying in advertising whose target is for prospect female surfers. I’ve seen adds for girls surf camps, or female weekend surfing, where the stereotype is the same, a happy attractive girly one-sided model in a tiny bikini. To learn that this goes as far as to become heteronormative, makes it have all the ingredients to be a big problem. I had no idea it was that bad. I hope there are more sponsors that can break through the prejudice. And that surfers unite. It must be hard to push forward in a environment where around you most people seem to just take the “easy” road and get their pay check. Men have a word here. It’s not just the women who should fight to deconstruct this paradigme. I wish that male surfers also get aware of what should change. And I hope it changes. We can all benefit from a world where we are not forced to fit someone else’s stereotype.

  • forget the surf s ridiculous anyway..12 women making a living?they could start their own gig,rip the whole thing off and make it free and cool.get creative,the suf industry could never compete with that…

  • TomHouse

    I’ve said it before on this website and I’ll say it again. Nothing about marketing is fair. It isn’t supposed to be. In pro surfing two things sell: surfing ability and an image that consumers covet. That’s it. Frequently, those two things are the same. Expecting anything else is asking too much from an economic system that isn’t built to reward equality.

    Pro female surfing isn’t near the performance level of pro men’s surfing. Therefore, to make $$, female surfing needs to sell something. That something will be sex appeal 99% of the time. Why? The market demands it. It isn’t about prejudice. It isn’t about misogyny.It isn’t about homophobia. It is about what sells.

    Regardless of their intent, articles like this are not only tilting at windmills, they are willfully ignorant of human nature.

    • Alex White

      Is there room for changing the marketing ideology? On a broader scope yes. I believe it’s up to the consumers to support what products represent their values. Alas, surfing as a product is a watered down sexy surrealist depiction of youth and skin and tiny pieces of clothing. People can use their wallets to vote for what they want to support in a way.

    • TomHouse’s argument fails to recognize that men and female surfing cannot be compared on the same standard. They are different, always will be different, and women are fine with that. Female athletes do not need to sell their bodies to make money – most are too intelligent for that. To claim they need to in order to market themselves is oppressive and frankly, ancient news. Welcome to modern society!

      • TomHouse

        If female pro surfers don’t need to rely on sex appeal to market themselves, then what is the point of this article? In what alternate universe do female pros make $$ regardless of their appearance or their unique marketing angle?

    • Jerry

      I totally agree with you. Sex is the single most influential factor in determining action on earth. That is irrefutable. From conquering lands to losing friends to driving innovation in streaming technology on the Internet, sex will inspire more bold behavior (and probably technological innovation) than anything else on offer. It’s the root of life.

      People just straight up want to have sex with other good looking people. And I’m not sure I see the distinction or prejudice against either heterosexuality and homosexuality here. A hot girl/guy is a hot girl/guy, and it doesn’t matter at all whether that person likes dudes or chicks. It’s actually (at least in the case of women) probably more attractive if they prefer girls, so I’m not sure this argument
      holds in this piece (at all). The only thing that a good looking person needs to do is look good in the garment they are being paid to wear. Doesn’t really matter their orientation.

      That said, I’m absolutely appreciative of this article in that the writer (and these
      surfers) have an important perspective to share – one that’s rarely, if ever, heard – and whether you think it’s tilting at windmills or not, Tomhouse, they deserve a voice.

      Clare, I’m glad you put this out there. Clearly, there are gay women who feel marginalized without good reason in our surf community, and it’s productive that their claims are out in the open in a respectful way.

    • Fred Hasson

      Totally agree. People who want to get paid to surf walk into a culture, then complain that the culture is unfair. Marketers make decisions on numbers and image, for better or worse. Their job is to sell product. If you want to help them sell product, they will pay you, regardless of orientation. They are paying you to help them sell product, not to surf, and not to find self-realization or whatever. In that way, they are completely non-judgmental. This is America; we have the choice to walk away from jobs we don’t like.

  • Alex White

    Sexual orientation, much like race is an undeniable aspect of a person’s perceived identity. Wether you like it or not, it’s a part of your image. The surf industry is to blame in being so narrow in their scope and too frightened of the fragility of their way of life to take a risk. They all know the whole contest-oriented, lets-be-a-real-sport and never mind our counter culture past is what’s choking any creative ideas from emerging. Everyone can’t fit in their box. And just ripping can’t get you squat (male or female). KK and Bevo are famous because they earned respect, charged, had a sense of style and never tried to be anyone they’re not. Both are self-starters, promoters and champions of their own “brand”. Girls like Bec Woods or Paige Hareb, whom I assume you are referring to here need to follow suit and be their own badass self. Fuck the industry for not supporting them the way they would’ve liked. The brands fool you into thinking you’re their family, and leave you high and dry. Lesson learned? Start something new gals. Get around, work it, be the change you want to see in the world (ghandi). Or just shred and be happy with what you got right? Cheers.

    • High and dry is right. All these previously counter-culture sports are like that. Snowboarding, same. I like the bit you wrote about “family.” That really does completely go out the window when budgets get tightened. But truly do what you love and don’t get caught up. Sometimes is a great way to move, forward, beyond and into new things in life. It’s a big illusion, this industry obviously, and remembering that daily is vital.

      • Alex White

        Hey Alexis. I used to get some confusing emails from people at our old mutual sponsor years ago! Hope you’re doing well. You still jumping down huge rails on that board of yours? Gnarly.

  • Tony O’Connor

    As a Father of three (Daughters), I can tell you
    it is not just this sports “culture” that forces women or men to
    compromise themselves, it is “our” mammon based culture
    period (Can’t serve both).

    Like Mickey Dora, or not, he identified the soul stealing effect of
    competitive surfing many years ago. He vocalized his disdain and
    walked away. Sometimes, to save your self-esteem and moral values, you
    have to cut your losses. I like Sunova Surfboards Idea, Incorporate and
    expand “the 12” (Strength in numbers)…

    Tony O’Connor (U.S.Marine)

    • Elizabeth Glazner

      always strongly suspected that straight women on the tour wanted to
      distance themselves from Wahine when we were publishing (1995-2002), for
      fear not only of being associated with a magazine created by gay women,
      but because of an inherent disrespect and distrust of other women
      (there must be a word for that but I haven’t discovered it yet). It was
      as if they felt that making the cover of Wahine was not as good as
      getting in the pages of the guys’ magazines. It was infuriating — my
      job as editor was basically to glorify them so they could attract
      sponsors and build the women’s market for all of us, and as the first
      pub of its kind, we were incredibly influential in doing that. And
      Wahine’s creed was to be inclusive and fight sexism. My god – we
      actually got Reef to build an ad for us showing a woman ripping instead
      of standing there in a thong watching her boyfriend shred! It was a huge
      breakthrough, celebrated mostly in our little office. We actually had
      advertisers tell us that reps from the other mags were telling them to
      stay away from us or be tainted. I could go on. Have things changed? I
      don’t follow surfing anymore, but it seems, apart from some efforts by
      authentic women in publishing and the industry, that it hasn’t much.

      • nettwench14

        I think many women are their own worst enemies. They would rather be part of the herd than think for themselves. They feel that to compete with other women they must tear each other down than to bring each other up. I can feel your frustration! Women need to empower each other or they will always be divided and conquered. The REEF ad was an accomplishment, it’s sure the kind of thing I wanted to see. I never wanted to be stuck on the beach as a spectator.

  • Wil

    Thanks for a well-written, insightful piece. In comparison I think of the WTA—the tour for
    women’s tennis, another globetrotting, individual sport in which players are often rewarded for both skill and looks. As with KK in surfing, there have been prominent women, like Amélie Mauresmo, who have come out and been very successful (albeit less so with sponsorships). Then there are straight women, like the Williams sisters, who, while attractive, don’t match Barbie standards and have prospered both in sport and endorsements. So while the situation you describe is frustrating, it isn’t hopeless.

    Also like surfing, men in tennis have lagged behind women in coming out. And when I say
    lagged, I mean have done nothing. As a gay guy who is a fan of and participant in both sports, I can tell you that the day when an active male surfer or tennis player comes out will be one of great note, and a cause for celebration.

    With respect to the mainstream surf mags, you’re absolutely right. They’re not only
    misogynistic, but also homophobic, which is why I canceled my subscriptions years ago. (Who knows, maybe they’ve changed since then?) The irony is that most surfers don’t share those sympathies; what we’re getting in those titles is just a small slice of tour-centric bro culture. Luckily there are content providers like The Inertia for the more enlightened surfers in the line-up.

    I would also point out that it’s not just women who are objectified in surf media. Men are
    as well, but in a different and perhaps less disempowering way. Have you ever seen a hero shot of a male surfer who had anything less than a six-pack, toned arms, and a tan? No, for two reasons. One is that those attributes come naturally with a surf lifestyle, but the other is that whether they like to admit it or not, readers (including the straight male fanbase) like to see fit, attractive people. As a former journalist who covered the surf industry (and its regular meetings at SIMA and ASR), I can tell you that the levels of homoeroticism in the business are off the charts, and “core” surfers seem to like it that way. Which makes it surprising that for-real gay people seem to frighten them.

    I know there are a lot of open-minded surfers out there, pro and amateur. It seems that the
    sponsors and the mainstream mags are the only ones who don’t really get it. Meanwhile, if you’re a gay pro and reading this, let the world see you as yourself. You won’t regret it.

  • Alex White

    Surfing, by hinging it’s worth on sex appeal first, is doing itself a huge disservice. Skateboarding, snowboarding have huge successful marketing campaigns that don’t include sex appeal. Seriously. People aren’t just all drooling horn-bags. But because you can’t get surfing to expand its base of surfers in the Midwest of America and other landlocked regions, they have to market sexy lifestyle first. They need a way to market the amazing, nature-loving, sensual, traveling, meditative and cool aspects of the sport to people who have never experienced it. It’s a tall order.

    • nettwench14

      Part of the problem is that the “beach” has just become such a stereotype in our culture. People don’t think about the “beach” in terms of full-body wetsuits in the wintertime, but that’s surfing for a whole lot of people. Nobody cares how they look on the beach, it’s how they feel in the water that counts.

  • Lyle

    This article was not what I thought it would be. When I saw title, I thought that this would be another lament about how the women’s pro tour is shrinking, even while the performance level of women’s surfing has never been better. Instead, what I perceive both in the article and the comments is more about what we might believe deep down inside about humanity, about what it means to be human.

    And what might we hold in common? It is the belief that people are not objects, and should not be treated as such. Deep down in our gut, we all know that is wrong. Humans, especially the surfing kind, are to be treated with a far greater dignity. C.S. Lewis, a British author/philosopher/theolgian, says it this way: “It is a serious thing,” to live in a society of possible
    gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to
    may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to
    worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a
    nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of
    these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the
    awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with
    one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ‘ordinary’
    people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations —
    these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals
    whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit.”

    This takes our women surfing pros beyond pretty faces (and bodies) that sell stuff. What I’m looking for then, as a fan of pro surfing, are athletes (men and women) who are those expressing what it means to be human, putting on display the best of the human experience. We know them not mainly through their record in winning heats but through their stories–the more interesting the better. My two favorite women surfers to watch have interesting stories: KK and Bethany Hamilton (howz that for variety?). From DJ exploits in midtown Manhattan nightclubs to almost leaving a piece of her face on the reef at Chopes, KK is a charger, her surfing is courageous.

    And speaking of courageous, Bethany Hamilton keeps paddling out, making me wonder if I would do the same if a tiger shark took my arm. Add to that the over the top commitment to training (one arm push ups anyone?) that allows her to surf waves that superfit men with two arms have trouble handling, like sizable Padang Padang.

    Bethany, of course, doesn’t come up in the conversation because she’s not on tour, and is not what Billabong is looking for in a bikini shoot. She is, however, the most recognizable women surfer in the world today, and ranks right behind Kelly and Laird, as the more recognizable surfer period. Sony pictures did a movie on her and she does well in the mainstream media, but gets only the scraps from our surfing media. I reckon that’s the price you pay for being one of those squaresville Jesus followers. But forget about what she believes for a moment and reflect on her guts, determination, and skill, plus her high personal character. Yes, a wonderfully imperfect model of what it means to be human, a human wave rider.

    • nettwench14

      I’m just in awe of what you wrote here. As a woman, the two surfers I most admire are KK and Bethany, and I would add Maya Gabeira for charging the big waves. I was really disappointed in hearing Kelly Slater’s disparaging remarks about her surfing big Chopes, when he should have congratulated her for her guts. It made me angry, that lack of respect. She has just as much right to be out there as anyone else at that level of ability. Any surfer can get in over their head. It made me think less of him and I hate that because he represents East Coast surfers, of which I am one. It’s about HEART and SOUL.

  • Ashley

    This comment is really homophobic. Being a female professional surfer is tough no matter your sexual orientation, but the key here the fact that the industry sweeps anything “not heterosexual” under the rug. And it’s also not about throwing a pity party for queer women, the first step toward fixing a problem is addressing the problem and making it known to the public. Discussing this issue in an open public forum is a step toward progress. This is what I think Claire is trying to do here. P.S. I don’t think being gay is a “personal choice”. I’m sure most of these women would love to be more open about their relationships and would certainly not choose to have to hide those close to them.

  • Fernanda

    I’m a surfer since i was 12. I’m 28 now. I support the sport. I’ve been reading surfing mags and watching contests for years and i’ve been always interested in how girls could rip and not about their looks. I never got whats the point of pictures of their ass, they are athletes are not biquini models. Always thought that kind of picture was very disrespectful and got really disappointed by the surfer that accepted to deal with that. As that said, i do think thats a new way for female surfing industry, when marketing guys realize that’s so old school keeping promote athletes like that. Also, i think the way Carissa Moore is handling her image is quite right, getting away from this and focusing on her abilities. PS: never thought Bevo would be mencioned on this article, i’m her fan and a i don’t like her any less afterwards, so industry guys WAKE UP ’cause you are soooo old news!

  • unidentified

    At no point in this article did the author say that these surfers wanted to look like boys or pity themselves. Whether female surfers are gay or straight, they appear to
    feel pressure from the industry and the big 3 surf brands to have a certain
    look or sexualise themselves to get promoted, rather than on their surfing
    ability.Yes of course there are straight female surfers struggling as well, the
    author is also not denying that fact.

    Being gay is not a choice, but it is personal. As is your personal life and
    relationship with a man. Neither should be a factor in your career, which it
    has become for these surfers.

    The problem with your comment is that you are stereotyping – just like the surf
    industry and media surrounding it. I am a femme gay woman and feel very
    comfortable in a bikini, short dress and heels. I know lots of straight girls
    with short hair who hate heels and like wearing boardies. We are all different,
    but we should be allowed to feel comfortable within ourselves and express who
    we are no matter what our sexual orientation. I choose to not talk about my
    relationships in my career because i keep my personal and work life seperate,
    but should I wish to, I know that it would not affect my career whatsoever and
    if it did, there would be serious legal issues. As BBB stated, sexual
    orientation is not an identifier, it is what it is. The surf industry needs to
    catch up with modern society.

  • J. Matt

    “The market demands it. It isn’t about prejudice. It isn’t about misogyny. It isn’t about homophobia. It is about what sells.”Inadvertently commenter TomHouse has hit the nail on the head- the MARKET is misogynist and homophobic. Organized surfing has had many opportunities to address those things in our culture (and I mean our market capitalist culture) that might function at a more enlightened level within its own small sphere of influence. By and large it hasn’t- it has had no incentive to do so. I wrote about this reality for this site when Andy Irons died and I am not sure that in the intervening two years organized surfing has gained any ground in addressing drug abuse within
    its ranks- piss tests anyone?

    When an industry is predicated on selling what is largely a fantasy to the vast majority of those it sees as its market, the fantasy will be made as much a reality as it can be in
    the service of making a dollar. If this means giving short shrift to those things (women’s status, homosexuality, drug use) that it finds counterproductive to its sales goals short shrift will be given every time. As surfers we needn’t ultimately be consumers of things that support this paradigm- what more does one need than a board and either a
    bathing suit or a wetsuit? There are manufacturers of all three items that don’t support the industry paradigms- support them. We don’t need the industry to go surfing. This attitude may not serve those who wish to support themselves as professional surfers; they will have their own ethics to reconcile as they decide to participate or not in a system that
    perpetuates damaging stereotypes and circles the wagons when unpleasant reality comes to light.

    We as people have a great power to change those things that we find malodorous in the worlds that we chose to participate in be it the surf world, business world or political world. Today the British parliament voted to legalize gay marriage; day by day more states in the US move closer to this and it is inevitable that our federal government will as well. Organized surfing will eventually have to ask itself it wishes to be an anachronism or if it will join the march of progress towards equality of treatment and consideration of all
    people regardless of what their gender, skin color or preference in partners might be. “Markets” much larger than surfing are changing- it would be a shame if organized surfing is left behind because of its own intractable insularity.

    Thanks for a great essay Ms. Sullivan. The rest of us might do well to remember that a silenced voice is more often than not a complicit voice. Speak out with your pen, your actions and your wallet to force a change.

  • Rachael

    It is magazines such as ‘Stab” that ruin it for female professional athletes/surfers. They tell the girls they aren’t being sexy enough during their shoots and that they should take their tops off (note- Alana and Monica left theirs on). I mean I guess I can see how sometimes it can be a funny mag because a few of the things that they write about have an element of truth involved but overall it sickens me to my stomach. The way they degrade our surfers and porn them off to their ignorant audience.

    What is offensive for me is that the girls are supporting magazines such as Stab, probably because they feel the need to prove themselves as feminine and/or feel that this is the way forward following precedence from each other, and ultimately Alana. There is a tactful way to represent not just women’s surfing but femininity. No surfing/action photos are included in surf girl Stab shoots.In my eyes the whole point of a shoot like this is to show the contrast of what these women can do in the water and how beautiful they are. The comments of these shoots should be noted…

    Girls surfing sucks so bad nothing like the commentators talking it up saying wow can’t believe the progression of women’s surfing look how good the standard is.Trying to sell it.Wonder why they only have 6 comps a year and fuck all prize money. What bullshit it’s so shit. Stephs the only one who can surf. at lest the rest can do is look good.
    by Wayne 08 Oct 2012Report Rate this (2)

    On Monica Byrne-Wickey’s photo shoot- the middle photo above is a close up of her bikini bottoms which was apparently worthy for a half page photo… for the male reader, his hand and his dick
    i wouldn’t care if she had arms or not … remove them both… i want something else.
    by ron jeremy 11 Oct 2012

    On Alana Blanchard
    Alana is perfect,,,perfect ass tits and face, you can just tell she is dumb as a I said perfect
    by Nilly 11 Oct 2012Report Rate this (19)

    Other comments extracted from hundreds of similar comments include…

    can you imagine how barred up the photog must have been?
    fuck the c?$t would have to be buddha not to want to just fuck them on the sand there and then!!!
    by lordsword 11 Oct 2012Report Rate this (2)

    Ugggg, girl surfers are so annoying. Just shut up and keep instagramming your ass.
    by Pipeline Posse 23 Oct 2012RespondReport Rate this (10)

    i love fuck her….
    by messi 10 Aug 2012RespondReport Rate this (1)

    One comment was removed thankfully as it said something like… ‘ i would put my dick through glass to get to that pussy’

    as well as many wanting to do these women up the arse and giving anal sex comments.
    To turn it around, if a female who saw say (picking a good looking male surfer) Julian Wilson naked in a feature wrote on the comments…. ‘Oh my god nothing can stop me from touching my clit right now… I feel like squirting just thinking about Julian’s juicy dick’. The female would be ridiculed and called a slut. The only place this would possibly and might happen would be on a porn site.

    Many comments focus on how women’s surfing is only good because of the tits and ass. All sports sexualise women and yes, it is a selling point but the difference is that in other sports media they are simultaneously recognised for their achievements and status. I understand the concept of marketability but the women are going to new extremes to exploit themselves and this is the CAUSE of this divide on the women’s tour. It is a hard act to follow for the rest and for many it would be going against their personality and moral ground. If the girls don’t support this sexualised surf girl image it seems they are labelled carpet munchers and unattractive. We have beautiful women aligning themselves with the ocean and we should be appreciating each of them. More girls are partaking in these shoots so they can align with the sexy and straight image. It’s one or the other and seems to be no in-between.

    Sage Erickson’s ‘wild on the beach’ video should be checked out
    I don’t want to take anything away from Sage but I lost respect for what could of been a beautiful piece when I saw it was for Stab Mag. I also don’t see a beach like it states in the title or any product to sell here.

    Check out Bottles Girls of Hawaii at this is an example of what the women professional surfers have to deal with from the men and the supporting brands.
    Note- guys like jack and Eric seem innocent. It seems to me that if you are a male and you don’t make it in the competitive world but are a f?!king chauvinistic wanker and you want to talk about women like they are objects, there is a job or a place for you in the surf industry after competitive life. Paul Fisher is funny to those who haven’t been raised with any moral values. How he gets the chicks I don’t know… I would assume they are always blind drunk or he’s slipped them something! I wonder if he has ever even wanted to or made a girl ‘cum’?

    People talk shit about Alana but to me she’s done well… she surfs well and hey, at least she keeps her top on. It’s the others that saw her success after she/Rip Curl found her niche and followed suit… well tried to.

    At junior events I have witnessed being near guys tag teaming, put the pig on the spit, talk about ‘rooting’ drunk girls (most likely without their consent) and comparing their fuck tallies. Animal behaviour.It’s magazines like Stab that suggest this behaviour is okay and glorify the ‘pro’ guys for banging cougars, f;(?ing their groupies preferably on rotation or in front of each other and just being ego driven guys who treat women like shit. These men don’t realise there is much more to life. It’s no wonder women are preferring their own kind when this is what the surf culture has been reduced to.

    Ive witnessed guys hitting on girls and them calling them a lezzo when they get turned down, I’ve witnessed guys succeeding in attempts because they guy calls the girl a dyke until they cave in (not because they want to or even are a lesbian) but because they feel they have to prove other wise). I’ve been at events where one of the guys kept crossing out women’s draw and writing Lezzos draw instead. No wonder there are women on tour feeling the way they do. No wonder people don’t want to come out in the surf industry.

    Basically it seems if your not Steph or Carissa (Steph did pose nude for ESPN body issue but on a much more tasteful note than what Stab would deliver) and you want to be recognised as a good surfer you have to take your clothes off, and those that still get paid and don’t need to… well they usually have famous surfer fathers so there is no need, they are applauded for their genes.

    Sally Fitzgibbons took her top off for the shoot and they call it crazy, stupid hot. This is something one would see titled on a porn website. Is this really the audience we want to be targeting???? I would think and hope not when reading the comment section.

    Even our surf mainstream mags display this ability and willingness to support what should be considered as unnecessary behaviour; I remember an interview with Kolohe Andino who replied with something like… ‘lighting a girls hair at fire at school’ when asked what’s the funniest thing he has ever done or Koby Abberton glorified for being on trial and making the front cover of an Australian surfing magazine shackled with handcuffs.
    What is this suggesting to our youth?

    On another note I’m not sure why people seem to think only good looking guys are marketed too. Sure, there’s handful… but for the majority they are no oil paintings and/or often no taller than 5’4 yet there still manages to be room for marketing them… if all else fails not to worry, I’m sure if they make some jokes about banging pussy they will be fine.

    I think the previous female surfing generations had their issues but at least before they were celebrated for their surfing ability. Now things have changed with technology it’s all just getting nastier with social media outlets. The girls posing will never want to seem to be complaining because they don’t want to stir things up and lose their $$$ value. Because of this and the way the girls obviously feel they have to sell themselves out to be recognised, unfortunately they will never unite.

    There is some ripping going on right now so I don’t want to take anything away from these girls but you only see (advertised and through the media) the handful of girls with money surfing good because they have the money, resources and support to go the the waves where they can practice and get quality images/video as well as are being marketed to the public. They have the time and resources to practice for their sport and aim to be the best. The rest have to work and rely on the dismal images ASP produces of them in a one foot wave. Even the ASP seems to deliver quality images (often from girls sponsors) for their own marketing of the girls on tour with sponsors so we see and subconsciously support what is laid out in front of us. I feel it is the different ASP regions, responsibility to give the rest of the girls a chance so they can at least be seen to surf well by the public so there is less of a negative vibe and less controversy. If they don’t have the events to do this they need to find a way to get the unsponsored girls to get these shots… after all these girls are supporting ASP and paying out of pocket expenses. It would be nice for ASP to help the girls and their marketability options instead of it really being an 8 woman tour. I’m sick of hearing that half the girls on tour don’t surf well, when all the public see is them surfing two foot shit and then photos of the sponsored girls in perfect waves… of course they will make their comparisons based on that if there is nothing else there. People may say make the heats to get through but I believe this also comes down to the support networks these surfers can afford or are handed to by their sponsors. These girls train, get coached on tactics /psychology and have people at events to coach them through it. Then when they get through these heats that’s when ASP and the sponsors concentrate on who’s performing well. Same can be said for the men but at least there are more events and prize money to help them prepare for the events as it is more financially viable (I’m not saying they should be paid more etc just stating a fact).

    Often companies threaten female surfers that they have to lose weight which is understandable to some degree although perhaps with better delivery would be more beneficial to everyone including esteem and motivation of the athletes. At a young age female surfers are told how to act, what to wear and who they are. Of course when things aren’t how the sponsors ‘want’ things to be it may not work out. But this ‘not working out’ has been a battle for many of these women their whole life. Some who recognise they are not who their sponsors want them to be at a younger age, have to either live a lie, a double life or have to deal with it in an unsupportive environment and industry. Subjective to the brand it might work out for a slim few. However the latter scenario will work out for less and less people as time goes on as the women are currently confining themselves in a small box and redefining what it takes to be a professional female surfer. From comments read I am sure there are readers who may get excited by the term small box and feel inclined to comment especially as you will see a photo of Surf girls half naked (who are not thinking about you) on the same page…. I ask you to keep your hands on your dick and away from keyboard.

    Male and female professional surfing should be celebrated together and the audience should try and appreciate both for what they each are. Of course women’s surfing is going to be different, women have physical limitations. But the way things are going makes me want to turn my back on supporting it completely.

    • Alex White

      I especially like your point about the industry breeding a group of uneducated, ignorant pros to take over thus creating an inbred workforce where new ideas are stiffled and the good old boys make sure their legacy lives on. There’s another article in here. Rach you need to submit this to the inertia. Well done.

    • nettwench14

      Wow! Well done. How do they know what women want – we’re half the planet! Women should not participate in representing the sport this way. There are plenty of girls who can take their clothes off – how many of them can surf? Women with talent should just stop participating in (what you said so well!) this “sideshow.” And the professional surfing organizations have a responsibility to put their foot down on misogyny and sexism. Behavior like you describe should not be tolerated. Young men and women need to be educated as to what is acceptable and what is not. This contributes to the current culture where we have young girls being gang-raped by teenage boys and then given a pat on the back where the girl’s life has been torn apart. Where are the fathers of young girls? Why is it acceptable to treat girls and women this way?

  • Rachael

    Haha you are proof that the industry does not support homosexuality no matter how much they pretend to ‘understand’ to. You sound like the type to meet a transgender gossip and walk the other way in disbelief or the type to pretend you care about humanity and going to a third world country to pose with your arse out with the locals and pretend your saving the world. How’s that stereotype? You like it

  • nettwench14

    As long as these women allow themselves to be degraded for money, they will be degraded for money. And straight surfers who are bigots should be ostracized, not the other way around. Surfing is a SPORT. The double-standard prevailing for women who surf has nothing to do with SPORT, which should be based on talent and determination and professionalism. No wonder women’s pro surfing has become so lackluster, the women have been consigned to a ghetto, based on looks and heterosexuality, and having nothing to do with ability. In any other sport this would be outrageous. I am a straight woman who started surfing when I was fifteen years old, many many years ago, in the 1970’s. I want to see women rip, I could care less what they look like or who they love. Please stand up and demand respect for yourselves, or you are colluding with your oppressors. Learn to say NO. I think Keala Kennelly sets a great example. I had the feeling she was butch but when she’s ripping what difference does that make? If people asked me who the great women surfers are, she is the first person too come to mind, not Alana Blanchard. In fact, it makes my feminist mind squirm when I see women presented as nothing but sex objects. I wanted to be out in the water having fun, not sitting in a beach chair trying not to get my hair messed up. That’s no fun at all!

  • I agree with sunova surfboards comment. women should abandon the current surf industry. I wish women surfers would quit selling out and realize the power is in their hands. When I first came across Blanchard I was disgusted, its amazing you can actually make a career for yourself by showing your ass. Literally thats where her popularity stems from. Female surfers should quit participating in the sponsers and form their own competitions for free, start creating them on their own. and in response to straight blonde woman I shall fantasize about punching you in the face.

  • you are such a hateful loser! I’m straight and I love surfing and I have no problem being ‘compared’ to a lesbian surfer. what
    does that even mean? you obviously are too dim to see past the privilege that being a straight blonde tan
    woman has created for you.

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