International Women’s Day 2020
It’s International Women’s day 2020, and we’re reflecting on the last few years of women’s watersports milestones as well as what it takes to get into the industry as a female.
We saw women compete at Mavericks for the first time ever in 2018. WSL announced that women and men will receive equal prize money from WSL comps from 2019 onwards. We’re wondering what milestones we’ll see in women’s surfing in 2020, although we are sure of one thing – women in watersports will continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
It’s not just about competing though, there are many women behind the lens, capturing not only surfers but transporting us to our favourite spots through their images and films.
This International Women’s Day we spoke to some of our favourite women in the watersports industry to hear their thoughts on life, motivation, and inspiring other women.
What got you into surfing?
Corrine Evans Jones, surfer, writer and model: When I moved to Cornwall at age 11, I fell in love with the ocean and surfing. Watching my family enjoy the waves, being mesmerised by the local female surfers at the time, it didn’t take me long to pick up a surfboard and give it ago. I am so thankful that I did. Surfing is a sport that captivated me and still does.
Paulina Summers, competitive surfer: I started surfing at a very young age. Both my parents already knew how to surf so I was taught how to swim early on and it didn’t take long before I was on a surfboard. I never really thought about competing, I was very shy and I didn’t have the self-confidence. When I was 10, a small local free competition came to my home town. It never crossed my mind that I could enter, especially as it was only guys. Of course, I was always that kid out in the ocean for hours and this day wasn’t going to be an exception. I was all ready to jump into the water when a friend of my mom asked me why I wasn’t competing. I had all the excuses in the world but none of which stopped her from convincing me.
Once I signed up, more and more girls started to have the confidence to sign up and because of this, they opened a girls category. I ended up winning the contest and ever since I fell in love with the idea of being a competitor. Not only has surfing gave me self confidence as an individual but it’s also an incredible way to be connected to nature and free ourselves from the real world.
What drew you to surf photography?
Megan Hemsworth, surf photographer: I’m not at all a strong surfer, I even tell people I can’t surf! However, I wholeheartedly admire the beauty of everything to do with surfing. Life to me is about enjoying the outdoors and making fun memories. Surfing ties in time spent with friends and motivating yourself to see the most beautiful parts of the day. Therefore I merged my love of swimming and photography together. I started by photographing surf lifestyle imagery and after practicing with a simple waterproof point and shoot (along with knowing I was a strong enough swimmer). [After that] I made the choice to get myself warehousing for my Nikon DSL4 camera. I loved it! I never stop hunting a time to shoot in the water and [this] has lead me to where I am today.
What inspired you to make your surf film Discover2Uncover?
Friederike Anna Boeckermann, surfer and filmmaker: Traveling and surfing helped me to listen more to myself again, follow my heart and believe in myself. Having traveled for the past five years through different countries around the world, I’ve learned that there are so many ways to live your life. There is no right or wrong but there is your way which is the most important one. So, I decided to follow my calling of producing a travel & surf film without any prior media knowledge and walked into the unknown with this film project. It’s been the best journey of my life so far.
Is there a quote you live by?
Friederike: The purpose of life is a life full of purpose
What motivates you?
Megan: The love of what I do is what motivates me. I want to do nothing but shoot in the water so the power to keep going is the easiest part.
Where do you draw inspiration from when you write for SurfGirl??
Corinne: I write about my own journey into surfing, the highs the lows. I draw on my own experiences and share what I have learnt along the way. I listen to what women struggle within the surf and I try to create content to help them with that. I also love being inspired by other female surfers, surfers of all ages and abilities inspire me and the articles I write.
What advice would you give to young women wanting to try watersports?
Sarah Ashley Whitby, surfer and model: Just go for it. No one is watching you. It can be so intimidating when you are starting out – let’s face it. There nothing glamorous about being shore dumped multiple times or falling off every wave you attempt to catch… But no one cares. No one is judging. Don’t let the fear of embarrassing yourself stop you from learning. Throw yourself in and it’ll pay off faster than you think!
Foamies are cool. It can be easy to try and fast track the learning phase by rushing out and buying a shortboard to get ‘the look,’ but you cut yourself short in the long run. A lot of my friends are great surfers but still own foam boards and surf them often. They’re great fun, easy to surf and great for fine-tuning skills. Buying a shortboard too soon was something I was guilty of but I now have a 5’5 Softech foam board added to my quiver and it’s my favourite board.
Julia Castro, wakeboarding champ and vice kite park world champ: Go for it, don’t be afraid. Try to ask other girls that already do watersports for help or advice. You will have a lot of fun and discover a whole new world.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Paulina: I’d say my biggest inspiration would be Lakey Peterson. I love her surfing style as well as her progressive surfing. I feel like it really motivates females and gives us confidence knowing that anything is possible. Female surfing is changing. More and more we see girls are going big, whether it’s from big waves or just being more powerful in each and every wave.
Sarah: As cliche as it sounds, my biggest inspiration is my dad. He taught that life isn’t about living the 9-5 daily grind and that you can make a success of anything you put your heart into. Life is for trying new things and taking risks – smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors. I now have a heart full of adventure and an open mind to alternative living. I am freelance and am working my way towards becoming a ‘digital nomad’. Dad taught me life is best lived outside the box and I think everyone should be encouraged in this way. Thanks, Dad :)
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Julia: Ask for more advice and film yourself more. I really wished I asked for a bit more advice from the older girls. I was always going alone everywhere and doing everything alone and I think I could have used someone to go with. I also [should have] I filmed myself more so I could see what I was going wrong as well, so I was able to create more content.
Friederike: To take time, listen to yourself and be aware that you’re mostly limiting your life by your beliefs. Learn to believe in yourself and you’ll go beyond so many borders in life. Rather than chasing the happiness of other people, explore the world and with it yourself more. All you’re looking for is already residing within you. If I met the younger version of myself right now- it would be proof that everything is possible. Never in my wildest dream have I thought about traveling the world, surfing world-class waves and producing my own movie. There is so much out there for you- go out and live passionately!