The Inertia for Good Editor

The Inertia

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.

  • Patrycja Marja

    Thanks for writing this article.

  • Seaman

    Tita was another brasilian with the same issue. Thing is, girls that spend $ on clothing, who support the industry are not surfers. No wonder the good surfers want nothing with the 2′ onshore beachbreak tour

  • Enrique Bertran

    Unfortunately a sad but true fact: sponsors don’t want to reward good surfing, they want to sell more stuff with their brand. And if you don’t fit the “image” they want for that specific brand they are not going to spend their budget on you.

  • Wilco Berkel

    And this is exactly why al so called surf brands are in big financial problems. They completly forgot it is about surfing .

  • When I met her last year at the Los Cabos Open of Surfing, she was the only female competitor who radiated professionalism, and a true yearning to take the trophy home, not only did she show an amazing commitment in less than Ideal surfing conditions, but she surfs without a leash, she doesen’t have swarms of photographers around her all the time, but she hangs out with a small crew of other (probably brazilian) girls who actually respect her and want to learn from her experience. Furthermore, when a me and young local professional aspiring friend of mine approached her she was really welcoming into the competitors area, almost like she would welcome us into her home, not only did she sign a couple hats for us, and took pictures, but had a nice conversations and we actually chilled for a few minutes together, without any akward Im a pro and you’re a fan interaction whatsoever.

    Respect for Silvana !!

  • Bampster

    She should demand unattractiveness be included in all affirmative action complaints to gain justice!

  • VoiceofReason14

    She says she got an important sponsor. Who’s the sponsor?

  • Dave Mills

    She’s been my favorite surfer for years now. I’ve seen her go from knee injury to knee injury to qualifying to get back on tour. She’s got a lot of energy. She has an amazing smile. She has a totally out of this world aerial. But fer shure girls who look like a model definitely get more sponsors. Look at Kournikova and Sharipova. I mean come on.

    But truth be told her biggest problem is depth. She can be amazing on a wall doing cut-backs and aerials. She’s great to watch. But she just isn’t versatile. I lover her. She’s great. But on waves that aren’t perfect, she just doesn’t perform well.

    She’s an inspiration to a lot of young girls. Young Yanca Costa is surfing her heart out in the north, and she’s gotten some attention but not enough. I think Yanca might be considered not pretty enough even though she has an awesome beautiful smile just like Silvana. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

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