Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Women win the US Open

Yeah Carissa Moore!

Women shred

Jodie Barsby shredding in the Maldives.

Photos via Jodie's blog
Not sure of the photographer, but I think it is Swilly
Sincere apologies for the limited info!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Women make awesome surf films

This video, Kelly Says, is awesome. Starring, filmed and edited by Hannah and Dannie in Newquay, it is (in their own words) a "what-u-mentary by two girl surfers who are not the best surfers by far... we're not the best filmers... and we quite often struggle to get the surf report right". Pretty much a bio for me too. In fact, watching this clip reminds me of surfing with my own girlfriends and all our own dork-iness. It's so great!

You can follow them on Twitter: @kellySaysSurf, and you can read a longer interview with them over on Surfer Dad (which is where I found this clip).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Women surf

Since watching the debate about the apparent inability of major surf companies to represent women who surf as surfers, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for current images and clips that show how it can be done without having to sexualise the women. I mean, I've been keeping my eyes peeled more than usual. And since I've not been writing much of late, I'm going to try and reignite my energy for contributing to an ever-growing archive of awesome images and video and stories of women surfing on this blog, which was part of the original intention anyway. I mean, the way I see is that there are an ever-growing number of bikini-clad images, so the more images and clips I can point to that show women's surfing is awesome whether sexualised or not, the better.

I'm going to start with, Say No More, which I saw over on Surfsister's always great blog. This film is showing at Carlsbad Village Theatre tonight and looks like its got some awesome surfing in it.

Say No More from Bird Man Media on Vimeo.

I'm straight up excited to see this film, so am suddenly bummed I don't live in California. If you go see it, I'd love a review!

Surf erotica

Thanks to Facebook (hi Dallas!), I just discovered a whole genre of surf erotica that I never knew existed. Obviously, if I'd thought about it for more than a second, I would have assumed this existed though. (Sorry for the Amazon promo. I'm to time-poor for photo editing today).

This gay erotic novella is set on the California coast among college-age surfers. The story follows Joey Verona who is the second son in a highly conservative family. Joey has turned 18 and just had his first beer. He's on his way to college, mainly to get away from his super religious parents. Joey finds that life on his own is a whole lot more than he'd ever hoped. Little does he know it when he leaves home, but he also finds himself in bed with his big brother's best friend, Dusty.

Thirteen tales of gay romantic erotica to make you swoon! Includes three stories never before published. Set in locations from Hawaii to Florida and New York to outer space, these stories will charm you, excite you and make you believe in romance all over again. 

Clancy Wade didn't plan on taking off for the Australia Day long weekend, but after waking up naked in the bed of his best mate Johnno, Clance panics, packs up his surfboard and his faithful dog Bluey, and heads north in an attempt to straighten himself out. But at a remote beach on the New South Wales north coast, Clance meets Brazilian traveller Danilo, an open-minded, free-spirited surfer who's about to teach Clance that sometimes in order to find yourself... you just have to let it all hang out.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I know this is late... but why Roxy? Why?

So, despite my promises, I have not yet commented here about the now-infamous promo for the 2013 Roxy Pro (shortboard) in Biarritz. (I'm not going to link to it here. If you want to watch it, you can look it up in the usual places.) A lot of other people have been talking about it though with especially thoughtful pieces by Bec Woods, Cori Schumacher, and Tetsuhiko Endo.

As I've (slowly) gathered my thoughts on this clip, I actually have been talking about it in other places, and I have most certainly been talking about it with other women, especially other women who surf. One of the most telling moments was at a social event I went to where there were female surfers a-plenty. When I showed one of them the clip (a competitive female longboarder) she stared and gasped and kept turning to look at me wide-eyed and silent in disbelief. Then she turned the phone to the other women who all watched it one by one or in groups with the same responses - awkward laughter, head shakes and unsurprised disappointment. I wish I could have filmed their responses to show Roxy.

And yet, I've still not written anything substantial. The thing that I kept coming back to is that in past posts I have already said so much about similar clips, so I felt as though anything I said this time would be repetitive and add nothing new. And please believe me when I tell you that writing that sentence makes me depressed. Then again, the marketing of professional women surfers by big surf companies makes me depressed.

But I've thought about it a bit more and I think that in the case of this clip, there is a particular problem that they can't argue their way out of. (Well, there are many problems, but for the sake of focus and brevity, I will just focus on this one.)

It's the same problem I noted when I discussed the clip of Laura Enever, in which Billabong did a really similar thing to 'launch' her as their newest surfer. Similar to the Roxy clip, the surfers were sort of positioned as 'athletes', but were treated and represented as eye candy. I'm not going to bother going into discussion of the sexualisation of women in surf media here. We all know the arguments about this and we all know the arguments in defence - 'sex sells', 'they're allowed to be beautiful', 'it's good for surfing' and so on. And if the clips in these cases had been selling clothes or holidays or hair products or phones (!!) or whatever, it probably wouldn't have ruffled so many feathers. But since the product they are selling is elite female athletes who are amongst the top surfers in the world, then I don't think those arguments are going to fly. Since the other product Roxy was selling was one of the few competitions that the women have on the world shortboarding tour, this clip is unacceptable and lame. Since they featured a woman who is the FIVE TIME WORLD CHAMPION, without showing her surfing at all - in fact, without even showing her face, which was their marketing strategy - this is unacceptable. It's disrespectful to Stephanie Gilmore, and to all the other surfers. It's disrespectful to their skill and technique. It's disrespectful to the years of hard work they have put in to be competing at that level. It's just so totally disappointing.

Like I said, there are a whole heap of other issues raised by this clip, mostly to do with the effects of this kind of marketing on the sport itself, on the women competitors and on the culture of surfing more broadly - but I'm not going to go into detail about all that because those issues are really what this entire blog is about!

Roxy totally deserved to be dragged over the coals this time, because there was no real justification for this clip. The claims of 'oh, but we are going to release a series and she's surfing in the next one' don't really fly, because this was the first one, and thus the one that was always bound to garner the most attention. And this clip isn't 'good for women's surfing', it's good for the marketing of some female surfers as potential billboards for products.

What would be good for women's surfing is to feature the incredible skills and achievements of the female athletes who are at the top of their sport. Doing so would help to push back on the snide, lingering, irritating and increasingly difficult to maintain comments by those who claim that the women on tour can't surf and that's why people don't watch the competitions. The women on tour can surf really, really well, and that deserves some respect. Not least from the very companies who are supposed to support them.

A more recent clip, congratulating their star surfer for winning an ESPY for the 'Best Female Action Sports Athlete' is a lot more like it, and suggests they have taken a lesson from the fury over the past couple of weeks. Then again, it would have been a tough sell to make any other kind of clip considering the award, right? And they still get their necessary bikini shots in...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sail to me

Gerry Wedd: Clever clogs.

This would make a delightful companion to the one I already have. Hmmm...

Check out more of Gerry's recent work over on his blog.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Noosa Fest 2014: Making hay while the furore shines

I know I said I'll write about the Roxy clip, and I will. But in the meantime, this is hilarious.

Nicely played, Phil Jarratt.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Yesterday I went to have breakfast with friends at a cafe. They were, as ever, running late. I had been sat at a communal table, where I was right next to a young couple who were alternating between chatting and playing on their phones. I didn't spend time listening-in to their conversation - I'm opposed to conscious eavesdropping - but my ears did pick up on the guy's response to a comment from his girlfriend that I didn't hear:

Him: You don't even know what a grommet is! (Extended silence.) It's like, a surfie dude with long hair.

I had to repress laughter at his patronising her and then, when it came time to divulge the knowledge, clearly having no real idea himself.

We were sat right next to each other, and while I was sorely temped to speak up, I stayed silent and carried on reading the paper.

P.S. I would like to acknowledge that I have not (yet) commented on the Roxy thing. I will. I am. I promise! I just needed some time to think through why this is so different to all the other myriad times I have written about this issue (such as this recent example of surf companies sexualising women). Because, it isn't really different to those, but something about it has resonated with people. And the presence of this video in mainstream media in the USA and Australia (and beyond) deserves to be thought through. So I will get to it.