Editor’s Note: About two months ago, we caught up with Coco Ho and asked her to share her thoughts on a variety of topics during a sit-down interview, ranging from fitness tips to why the Women’s Tour should end in Hawaii to her view on women being viewed as athletes in professional surfing. Here’s what she had to say on the latter topic.

Coco Ho Barrel Shot

“We can do both. We can be sexy, and we can be the athlete.”


The Inertia

I definitely want to be portrayed as an athlete. I want to be portrayed as a respected athlete, but I also live freely. I still have fun. I still like to dress up and be a girl and hang out with the girls and do my nails, but I want to be serious, and I want to be an athlete. Doing both is totally possible. There are a few of us in that group – like Steph Gilmore. That’s who we all aspire to be like and look up to. She does an amazing job. She wears wedges, boots, heels to the contest area. It’s like, “Okay, we can dress up to the beach and to the contest area.” We can be girls. We can embrace being girls. We can embrace being female athletes and still go out and perform, do our training regime, go to the gym, etc., and have fun with the girls.

That balance epitomizes the state of women’s surfing right now. If you see Sally [Fitzgibbons] on the beach, she’s the most serious, focused competitor, but when it’s time to dress up for Surfer Poll, she’s immaculate. She’s gorgeous. I think that’s where women’s surfing is at the moment. Everyone’s embracing that we can do both. We can be sexy, and we can be the athlete. And there’s no better time to be a woman surfer. I’m just so lucky to be in this generation and to embrace it and to show younger girls that you can balance. Life is about balance. You can be that serious competitor and still have a life and have boyfriends. Be a girl. As athletes, we may have missed prom and some of the fun things that every other girl gets to do, but we get to travel the world and juggle everything. It’s in an amazing state right now. It’s not frowned upon if you wear mascara down to the beach. Everything’s evolving now.

With that said, the girls are all surfing so well, but we’re getting the worst conditions. Every time we get good waves, the boys are tweeting, “Wow, they rip! They’ve got so much potential.” It’s like, “Yeah, we finally got to surf a four-foot wave.” If we had these waves every time, we’d be ripping. It’s hard to rip one-foot whitewater.

Basically, I feel like people are noticing how much potential we have and are recognizing that we need better waves. Beyond that, we’re doing a great job balancing embracing being sexy women and being athletes and finding that healthy place in the middle.

Laura Enever, Steph Gilmore, and Coco Ho, balancing their lives as professional surfers.

Laura Enever, Steph Gilmore, and Coco Ho, balancing their lives as professional surfers.


  • Guest

    I really like this article and agree with CoCo… but one thing caught my attention.
    ‘You can be that serious competitor and still have a life and have boyfriends. Be a girl’
    Does this mean if you don’t have a boyfriend you are not a girl? Does ones sexual orientation decide our perceived gender?

    • Jamie Currie

      Get a grip.

      • Guest

        I thought The Inertia was a place for public discussion. Honours in literature haha

        • Jamie Currie

          I think the succinctness of my initial reply should speak for itself.

          • Guest

            Big word Jamie

    • http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lposz3cocr1qep8ay.gif gannysesh

      No, they can’t have girlfriends. That’s almost acceptable (definitely more so than the scary idea of male pro surfers having boyfriends), but not quite.

      • robertaspanks

        Darling, I feel you may have some issues and it is perhaps you who is unacceptable. You my grizzly bear look so intelligent and tough fist pumping the air in that picture of yours. That testosterone is just flowing and that surfboard looks, oh so manly. Mmmmmm yuuuuuummmm, that’s what I like; a real man. I’m surprised to see you commenting on the inertia, instead of some surfer mag forum. You beast you. But darling are you homophobic?

        • http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lposz3cocr1qep8ay.gif gannysesh

          I appreciate the effort you put into your comment, but please tell me you’re joking when you completely failed to understand that in my comment I was noting what the dominant meathead contingent of male surfers think. Additionally, you would be ignorant to believe that lesbians aren’t more acceptable to many people (“I’m cool with women making out”) than gay men.

          Anyway, I’m not going to keep typing. I hope I didn’t confuse you again.

          • robertaspanks

            It seems I’m a bit of an idiot then, i wasn’t joking. How could I of missed your point… probably because I didn’t look at your other comments I just jumped to conclusions. Now I have realised you have some great things to say. Initially I just got very upset at you’re comment and I take it back darling. Please forgive me. The problem was it wasn’t the first time I have heard this come out of someone’s mouth… for real. Apologies x

  • Nathania Johnson

    Much easier to be sexy and a surfer athlete than to be a non-sexy one. Guys who are surprised that women can rip see that quality second to the sexiness. And too many of them are in surf media.

  • Stu Azole

    so many thoughts. First, and in all seriousness, nobody has ever said it’s not ok for the women to be sexy. The issue is that they’re being portrayed as sexy from a very young age and without reference to their actual surfing ability.

    That said, am I the only one who thinks Coco looks like one of those pencil trolls little kids put on their erasers?

  • matt obrien

    Guest, what the hell is your beef? First off, try using your real name and quit being a coward behind “guest”. Second, you state you aren’t a feminist, but you are. All of your rants are totally just that. Now you go after Coco Ho cuz you see an attack on “sexual orientation”? Jeeze. Yes the Inertia website is for having a discussion, but you are seeing “discriminations” where none exist. as Jamie pointed out “get a grip”.

  • matt obrien

    well put!

  • Guest

    Jamie and Matt should just bone each other

    • Jamie Currie

      Great comment, well done, truly witty. Give yourself a round of applause.

  • Stu Azole

    Now that I look at the girls more closely, they remind me of swimmers, without the college education and career post-sport. Try as they may, they’re just not able to pull “sexy”.

  • Bruno

    If her dad and bro weren’t who they are she would have to take her top off too. Like the rest… Get them out!

  • Stu Azole

    haha, you mean Chad Wells? Any 40-something who didn’t see that termination coming should be banned from surfing all together. Team manager – is that really even a job?

  • Holly Beck

    how about the photo of the three of them. i know they are gorgeous girls and can be sexy and i am far from a fashion expert, but laura enever does NOT look hot or sexy to me in that photo.