Silvana Lima started breeding puppies as a way to fund her surfing endeavors. If you think about the fact that Silvana Lima was, at one point, one of the top competitive surfers in the world, then this is a pretty odd concept. Imagine Owen Wright resorting to GoFundMe campaigns to cover his entry fees. It doesn’t really compute that an athlete of that caliber isn’t supported through their industry in a way that allows them to focus and excel at what they do best.
So why did she step outside of surfing to support herself? Because, according to Lima, she isn’t attractive enough to cut a paycheck from a surf brand.
“I don’t look like a model. I’m not a babe. I’m a surfer. A professional one,” she says in a BBC profile.
“The surf-wear brands, when it comes to women, they want both models and surfers. So if you don’t look like a model, you end up without a sponsor, which is what happened to me. You’re excluded. You’re disposable. Men don’t have these problems.”
None of this is news, and none of this is exclusive to surfing. We already knew this about professional surfing and the industry’s sexualization of its top female athletes. Surfing is sexy. We wear bathing suits, get a bitchin tan, and spend more time on the beach than the less fortunate landlocked masses. And while that’s a somewhat broad brush to paint over an entire lifestyle, there’s no denying that sex appeal is in the top two or three reasons non surfers look to us with envy. It’s also undoubtedly the easiest way for a surf brand to catch our attention, and in turn, sell their slice of said lifestyle.
But you still have to sit and think about how odd it all is, a professional athlete breeding dogs so she can keep doing what she does best.