Does Surfing Discriminate?

30 Nov

Duel for the Jewel - 2010 Pipemasters

Tyler, Steph, Alana & Coco

When the ASP announced the women’s tour dates I thought, how could it go from a heat at Pipeline last year to no events in Hawaii 2011. Yes, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Alana Blanchard and Coco Ho surfed competitively at Pipe last year. No, I am not talking about Blue Crush the movie, it actually happened.

This year, what are the women’s highlights? Steph posing naked for ESPN instead. I agree that if you’ve got it, flaunt it and I do think Alana looks super hot in her bikini bottoms, but I would much rather watch her surf.

There are barely any women’s surf videos, so I enjoy watching the girls compete. Watching the best female surfers in the world pushing their surfing to new heights is inspirational. It motivates me to go out and surf better, to challenge myself.

And what did a heat at Pipe cost the sponsors? 25 minutes and some prize money, and not a lot of prize money at that. The money put up is most likely less than a contribution to fund the listing of a range of surf branded beanie hats in the Argos catalogue.

The biggest disappointment is that the surf industry itself openly demonstrates considerable bias. This is easily illustrated by the attached chart, with women’s events having to find alternative supporters rather than industry sponsors.


The reason given that marketing budgets are being slashed during the recession, therefore women’s surfing has to take the hit is a poor excuse, and a short sighted one. An investment made now, however small grows into something much larger. It reassures a younger generation of women that their leisure pursuits are just as worthwhile, and they, of course will invest in equipment and clothing for a lifetime to perpetuate the industry.

Does surfing discriminate? Make your own mind up and let us hope the ASP Women’s World Tour will actually run for a full year in 2013.


3 Responses to “Does Surfing Discriminate?”

  1. Bukit Bear December 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    While the surfing world discriminates – the ocean doesn’t – everyone takes that set wave on the head – no matter who they are…

    • Kaya Lucy December 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

      I agree, the Ocean is a great leveller

  2. loveamylee December 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I run a surf shop and all the little wahines wanted rip curl so they could be like Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer. A whole new generation of female surfers because of another Hollywood movie. Maybe the guys can share the huge prize purses so the girls can just have an event. Half of them already live in HI anyway. Really, $1 Mil for New York?!

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