Big parts of the surf industry are stuck in the past. Media will often objectify women rather than promote achievement. If we recognise that women surf, more will shine. If we want more women participating we must raise their profile, and by curating the world's most dynamic story collection of female surfers, Making Waves is set to inspire 1 million more women around the world to be actively surfing by 2020.
MEET OUR AMBASSADORS AND HEAR THEIR STORIES.
CATHY YOUNG - LIVE TO SURF
President of the Wahine Kai Women’s surf club e. email@example.com w. www.wahinekai.org
Cathy Young - Live To Surf
MAUI SURFER GIRLS
Dustin Tester, founder of the Maui Surfer Girls, surf instructor and pioneer ale big wave surfer.
Surf Seniorita. Graphic Design student at falmouth university. Instagram: @jennyjones93
JENNY JONES - SURF SENIORITA
Learning to surf is a challenge. You are taking on the elements and at the same time needing to balance, be aware of your surroundings, how to paddle and a bunch of other things all in one go. Now add fibromyalgia to the equation.
‘Fibro’ is an invisible condition that, if not managed properly, can consume your entire life. You can ache almost all over or be in excruciating pain for no reason. You can feel tired ALL the time and a good nights sleep happens rarely ever. You canfaint, have panic attacks and sickness waves all in one go. This condition also puts you under the “Disabled’ category by law (in the UK) as it can knock you off your feet and be extremely debilitating. It is a truly testing condition that can challenge the sufferer everyday but can be managed through dieting and rest which I learnt through trial and error.
My name is Jenny and here’s my story of how I managed to control and overcome my condition through patience and determination which enabled me to ‘pop up’ consistently, trim the waves lightly (in my own way) and well surf!
I would like to take this opportunity to say if you are reading this and have a debilitating condition or not and are struggling to pop up or progress to the next stage, I hope sharing my story with you encourages and inspires you to continue fighting the good fight as you will get there. This stuff really does take. You're only enemy is yourself and by controlling your body and mind, you can overcome almost anything. Have faith and you will be rewarded! It took me three years to pop up every time and trust me when you get there it’s an amazing and rewarding feeling.
At 18 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that swept me off my feet and made life more challenging. At first diagnosis it was like learning to walk again…baby steps and I was told by many doctors at the very start of adulthood that I would have to stop doing a lot of day to day things so that I would not get sick, weak and incapable of movement.
At 19 I was introduced to surfing. Something that I didn’t appreciate very much until last year. During last summer I surfed my butt off and learnt how to control and manage my condition, taking part in this highly active sport. At this point I could do, what I call, the ‘dodgy crouch’ where you’re not quite up but not down either. This was a confidence and energy issue that I needed to learnt take control of and focus on because the outcomes of working myself this hard impacted dramatically on my body causing sickness and panic attacks.
At 20 my paddle had become stronger. I became more confident and took on waves I probably shouldn’t have. My hefty boat of a board has saved me on too many occasions than I would like to remember. My condition at this point had also calmed down, causing less and less ‘flare-ups’ as I managed to create a healthy balance of good food and rest.
At 21 on the 6th July, on a late sunny afternoon at a lovely beach break in Cornwall, I achieved something that to makes me feel like I am on top of the world. And not ‘disabled’ at all. I took on some gloriously messy 3ft waves and stood up every time! EVERY BLOODY TIME!!! Something clicked. All of my hard work and determination had paid off. I also started to trim the waves left and right that day which was an added bonus. If you can remember achieving this for the first time, you can probably remember how incredible it felt. And it truly does!
I had kicked my fibromyalgia up the arse and told it where to go!! If you saw me that day, you would no see someone who is defined by their condition but someone with the most biggest grin on their face and having the best time of their life.
So…Don’t let your struggles or doubt control you. This will only make the process slower. to those who are stuck in this transition stage -from the dodgy crouch to the pop up or progressing, have faith and believe in yourself. You will get there! And when that day comes you will feel the rewarding feeling of accomplishment that I felt that day too!
Good Luck and keep fighting the good fight!
NORTH BAJA FOR ACTIVE TRAVELLERS
Sharing their surf journeys. Lauren Callahan. Artist & Instructor, Nicole Grodesky. Professional Surfer.
North Baja for Active Travelers
NINA ZIETMAN - COOLER MAGAZINE
Free surfer and editor of Cooler. e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nina Zietman: Editor of Cooler, one of the biggest online magazines for active outdoors women in the UK
I first got into surfing when I was 14 years-old. Growing up as a landlocked teenager in North London, there wasn't much in the way of waves in my neighbourhood. The only tube I ever came near to surfing was the London Underground.
It was the era when Blue Crush had just come out in cinemas and Surf Girl magazine in the US was really taking off. Holly Beck and Lisa Anderson were my idols. Coco Ho and Carissa Moore were these tiny up and coming groms. I saw these strong powerful women having fun in the sea - and I knew that's what I wanted to do. Every summer I would beg my parents to take me to a beach where I could learn to surf. I ended up riding my first wave in Tofino, Canada.
Now I'm the editor of Cooler Magazine, which aims to promote and inspire women in surfing, snowboarding and all areas of the outdoors. I spend the winters snowboarding in the French Alps, but my love of the ocean always brings me back to the south-west of England every summer.
I would love to see more women in the line-up. I always sit there surrounded by men and think, I know there are more female surfers out there - but where the hell are they?
We need more positive surf role models in surfing - not just magazine models with perfect bodies, but women of all ages and sizes. At Cooler we try and promote female surfers in a positive way - women of all shapes, ages and abilities - from Gwyn Haslock to the everyday female surfers on your beach. We want to spread the word that female surfers are out there - and how fun it is to get involved.
I would like more women to see surfing as something that's accessible. You don't have to be super fit, brave or hardy to get in the ocean and enjoy riding a wave. The more women that give it a go, the more you'll encourage others to do the same.