There's been a discussion recently in the surfing industry that says maybe female surfers are only getting attention (especially from the boys!) because they're sexy. But unless people hadn't realised, it's kind of hard not to be sexy in a bikini. Anybody is sexy as long as they're confident and that's one of the important factors in surfing, so going on that theory, all of the surfers are sexy because they're confident.
I have a few opinions on this topic. Part of me says that any attention towards the female surfers is a great thing because we're still too outnumbered by all the guys and even the press. I mean, have you noticed how when you look at all the magazines in the shops there's only one or two female surfing or boardsports magazines and it annoys me, so that's why I think that any attention is good attention.
But then I do think that us girly surfers are being overlooked because of how we look in a bikini. Girl surfers are a talented bunch of people - look at Steph Gilmore (5 X ASP world tour winner!), Laura Enever, Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, Lakey Peterson and Layne Beachley....... the list can go on. And look even at how young most of them are because that should hold some sort of relevance surely. These girls are at the forefront of female surfing, but still the guys are only talking about Alana Blanchard because of her little black bikini. Don't get me wrong, she is beautiful and if I walked past her on the beach I might end up staring but she has talent too and beauty is only part of the sport. Most people seem to forget that what you do with the board is why we all love it. If we wanted to be admired by how we look in a bikini all year round lets all go and move somewhere sunny! Although (maybe a hypocritical point) I partly think if you've got it, show it off!
Another part of the argument is that it's not setting a good example to young girls that think you have to be pretty in order to be a surfer. Obviously this isn't true, but I definitely agree that it does look like that is the case. It's sad to think that girls aren't heading down to the beach because they think they're not pretty enough. But pretty is feeling confident and laughing and not caring what anybody else thinks and having fun.
I love the surf film 'Leave A Message'. Firstly because the surfing is kick-ass, secondly because it's great to have a girls only surf film, thirdly because it looks like they're having fun and lastly because it's a great spreader of stoke (it definitely keeps my stoke up). There's a section at the end where they're all wrestling in the sand and Laura Enever is wearing a cut off wetsuit but apparently this scene is too sexy? People have said that girls wrestling is too sexy? I've never heard anybody say that male wrestling is too hot so why should girls doing it make a difference? And Laura's in a wetsuit, so it's not like all of them are exposing a lot. I've seen this film a million times (literally a million - my mum even asked me why I watch it so much) and never had the thought that it was too sexy occurred to me. But I'm not going to lie, I did notice the smallness of Monyca Byrne-Wickey's bikini. And now whenever I watch it, all I can think about is the 'sexyness' of the wrestling scene and I still even don't think it's sexy!!
Kelly Slater. He gets comments about his looks. The guys get the comments too, ok so no where near as much as us but they still get it.
Maybe the comments about the bikinied girls are the catalysts for exposure, because maybe all of this hype will sometime turn into hype about the actual skill of female surfers. Maybe once the guys start accepting the girls as equal, we'll start seeing more female magazines and more girls in guys magazines. I was flicking through a magazine in a shop the other day and came across a two page spread about a female surfer (I can't remember who it was now) and I had to hold in a celebratory 'YES!' - so I think it's happening but just pretty slowly.