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.

Chart

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.

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Not So Secret Spot

20 Nov

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For those that read my earlier post referring to a secret spot with a fabled right hander, here is a picture of Tim surfing it last winter. It only works on a certain tide when the swell is coming from west to north westerly direction, and it needs to be a big swell! This was the biggest I’ve seen it. Unfortunately it is not as secret as it once was. Only 3 or 4 years ago we surfed it with a maximum of 8 or so people. This weekend there was probably nearly 40 people out.

Read ‘Em and Weep – Reading the Charts

18 Nov
Magic Seaweed

Magic Seaweed Surf Forecast Newquay

Office bound surfers are often to be found trying to surreptitiously check the surf forecast throughout the week, anticipating their release when the clock strikes 5:00 pm. The problem with these short days and long nights means we can no longer sneak a quick dip before and after work. The onus falls squarely on the weekend now.

What is worse than a chart denoting no swell and flat conditions for a surfer like me? A chart a bit like the one shown on this post. Why you ask?

I have watched all week and seen the charts looking full of friendly 3-4 foot surf. I have seen the Tweets from the smug weekday surfers, and viewed the pictures posted by the oh so helpful surf magazines. ‘Look what you’re missing’ they scream. So now it is the weekend, and I along with the other weekend warriors are amped to get wet, and Saturdays forecast is for 7-11 foot swell.

Too big for me! Cold, overhead surf is not want I want for my play time. I am happy to accept that I am a wimp. My muscles have slowly been turning to jelly whilst sat at my desk munching cake all week. The challenge is now on to find somewhere where it will still be fun.

Cornish beach breaks do not generally hold large swells particularly well, although there are exceptions. Even the sheltered spots are likely to be heavy and rammed with others who have had the same thought process as me. I do have something up my sleeve, a semi secret spot. Somewhere between Newquay and Bude lies this very Cornish spot. If the tide is right and the swell gets in, long right handers will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.

Cornwall, Sunny Cornwall

12 Nov

In the sun, even Newquay can look like Hawaii or some other tropical paradise. If you look away from the arcades, surf shops and chippies, and use a bit of imagination it is not winter anymore. Ignore the surfers in full winter suits, pretend that you are not wearing scarf, body warmer and fleece. Turn your face to the sun and soak up that vitamin D. It is November now and we have a many long, dark days ahead.

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Surfing – good for your mind, body and…bank balance?

29 Oct

Happy in France

I spent yesterday morning in the Trafford Centre, Manchester. Being half term and pay-day for a lot of people it was rammed. For those that haven’t been, it is pretty impressive as shopping centres go, engineered to help you part with your money in as much comfort as possible.

These days, the only time I generally visit these places is when out and about for work. Why else would I be lured away from Cornwall to experience the delights of the Centre, Milton Keynes, Cribbs Causeway and Westfields? There was a time when these types of places would have been my destination for the weekend like they are for a large percentage of the population.

Before I discovered surfing, I got my thrills from going shopping. Instead of a testing paddle out, I battled with other shoppers to find a decent parking space. Now, I get excited by the changing seasons with the promise of hurricane swells, or warmer water or fewer people. Before, the seasons simply marked the latest sales. The adrenaline rush came not from pushing my limits in overhead surf, but from pushing the limit of a nearly maxed out credit card. Would the purchase go through or would I have the embarrassment of my card being declined? I am now undecided about which board to use, not which credit card to use. It is true, I had a problem. With nothing else to do at the weekend, I shopped for my kicks. It was an expensive habit which I have very nearly paid off.

Surfing may be free but the accoutrements of surfing are not cheap. I have had to make my £200 winter wetsuit last for almost three years, and although boards have been big investments, the pleasure and excitement I get from surfing has been well worth it. I have not racked up huge debts through surfing (although a fair spent bit has been spent on travelling). Shopping, and being away from the sea is now very much a chore.

With thanks to my sponsor (and Husband) for supporting my surf habit for the past 6 years!

ASP Tour Judges – We Are Ready For You

11 Oct

As a result of some very inconsistent judging, we are going to try to make our voices heard today…

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European Premier of New Globe Surf Movie

9 Oct


The European premier of Globe’s new Surf Movie, Year Zero was celebrated in style, with a free party and screening held at a secret location in the forest in Seignosse, near Le Penon.

The event was a collaboration between Globe, Desillusion Magazine and Rockstar Energy Drinks and advertised as ‘The Death of Cool’.

The invite was open to all ‘folks, hippies and kooks’ that had been lucky enough to find the details of the event through the Twittersphere. ‘Suivez les fleches rouges’, or ‘follow the red arrows’ were the only clues to the venue.

Stepping into a clearing in the forest, the view was that of an old skool rave. Vibrations from a heavy dub step bass line coursed through my body, whilst dancers on podiums and fire breathers welcomed new arrivals. A big screen had been erected amongst the pine trees and coloured lights cast unusual shadows into the woods. Alongside the well stocked free bar and DJ booth, there was a chill out area, made to look like a comfortable but well worn front room, complete with Turkish rug. The effect was surreal, an Alice in Wonderland playground for adults. To add to this, Globe had strung a row of a hundred pairs of their shoes by their laces between two pine trees. A sign proclaimed ‘take me’. Whoops of delight were emitted as this bounty was discovered. An Australian QS surfer promptly ditched the scruffy pair he was wearing, purchased for a fiver at Shoe Zone in Newquay, for his new Globe plimsolls.

Gourmet sandwiches were laid out, and the bar stopped serving beer. In true French fashion, barrels of wine in red and white were provided instead. Wine with food, not beer came the simple explanation from the bar staff.

The crowd, well fed and watered danced in the light of the moon to a variety of tunes and the somewhat questionable deejaying. Finally, a countdown started on the big screen, and the lights dimmed. All attention turned to the film.

Featuring Globe team Surfers Taj Burrow, the Hobgoods, Nate Tyler and Yadin Nicol, Year Zero was shot in Mexico and South West France. The film featured the air show that we have come to expect of this calibre of surf movie as well as some excellent cinematography. The defaced World War two bunkers made for an interesting backdrop to the surf porn shown. Before the movie could climax, the heavens opened in that torrential way well known to this part of France and the audience fled.

Thanks for the great party Globe, we will be adding Year Zero to our DVD collection.