This morning I was called a cunt. I’m a chick and I’ve been surfing for 15 years. I’m not amazing, but I’m not terrible–I catch the waves I paddle for, and I do more than just stand up on them. I’m also very aware of etiquette and I follow the rules, so I’m getting really tired of the grown men in the water who, for some reason, think it’s completely acceptable to scream profanities at a woman while surfing. Whatever sets them off is always a one-time event; nothing I have done more than once. And in my opinion, nothing I have done at all. So why was I called a cunt? Let me explain.
I was paddling back out from catching a wave and a guy was on a wave in front of me. I know the rule is to paddle toward the whitewater so you don’t ruin someone’s wave, and I do that all the time. I was far enough away from him that I could make it over the lip before he got to me. Also, his wave was doubling up with another one and the part of the wave I was aiming for was flat. His wave was done there. I made the decision that that was the best place to aim for. He would easily be able to enjoy his wave and I would get out of his way. Paddling toward the whitewater to me felt like I’d be in his way even more. While I decided I was going to aim to be well away from him, he decided he was going to aim for my face.
He did a bottom turn, came up and stayed high on the wave, aiming directly for me. I was at the top of the wave at this point and he came inches from my face on purpose. As he paddled back out, I looked back at him and said, “that was a little bit too close.” He started telling me I should have gone toward the whitewater. While that is the general rule, trust me, on that wave that didn’t look like the best option. If I went for it, I would have been in his way more. I’m not new at this. I knew he was going to tell me I didn’t know what I was doing anyway, so I told him his wave was doubling up and it was flat where I was. He shouldn’t be putting other people at risk–even if he thinks he was in the right. The most important rule above any other is to be safe. Then I told him that I’ve been doing this for a long time so I was not speaking from ignorance. “Doesn’t look like it to me,” he said.
Earlier, I’d been surfing near a girl I didn’t know. “It looks like it to me,” she said. “I’ve been watching her catch a ton of waves, and she’s doing all kinds of cool things on them.” He, of course, said something about “girl-power” and I said he was acting like an asshole. That’s when he lost it and called me a cunt. A grown man called me a cunt.
I decided then that I’d remove myself from the situation and not say anything more–I don’t argue with crazy people. He waited for a beat for me to respond, then smugly said, “yeah, that’s what I thought.” Did he think I was going to fight him?
So, here are some questions for guys who do this kind of stuff: what the fuck is wrong with you? Did your Mom not love you as a child? Did you get burned by someone you loved and now you have this weird thing towards women? Do you think it’s ok to do this kind of thing outside the lineup? If a woman accidentally steps in front of you on the sidewalk, do you call her a cunt? Do you walk around other people and call women cunts and tell them to fuck off in public? What is it about getting into the ocean that makes it ok all of a sudden to attack people?
If someone messed up, then talk to them like an adult. Pretend you’re inside a Starbucks surrounded by people. Act civilized. It’s ok to have a conversation out there that isn’t aggro. This isn’t your therapy session where you punch your pillow. Go home, draw a picture of whoever made you angry at women and deal with it there. Don’t go after the first girl you see do something that you feel like you can yell at her about.
Let’s all chill out there. Everyone try your best to follow the rules and be safe, and when someone fucks up (or you think they did), don’t take that as an opportunity to be an asshole.
See more from Shawna Baruh on Instagram@venturebaby and on Venturebabe.com