Posts Tagged ‘surfing’

Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history.

I was sad to read on Sporty Sistas that Beachley has felt the unending pressures of body image that her career has placed upon her.

This is big news since this is someone whose ego should be boosted – she’s won the World Championship seven times in her career.

She became a professional surfer at the age of 16 and was ranked sixth in the world by the time she was 20.

But in the 1990’s, she suffered from two instances of “chronic fatigue,” which threatened to end her surfing career.

It turns out that the “chronic fatigue” story had a little more behind it.

According to Sporty Sistas, Beachle recently released Beneath the Waves – a chronicle of how she got liposuction on her tummy at the very young age of 24.

Here’s what Sporty Sistas had to say about this,

“It’s comforting to know she has body insecurities just like 99% of girls out there, but on the flip side Layne makes a really disturbing observation that a women’s sporting career can only truly flourish if they are beautiful.”

Personally, I don’t find that comforting at all. It’s so (incredibly) wrong when the best surfer in the world thinks she’s fat and she’s pressured to win AND look perfect.

I have no doubt that this is the result of the way women surfers are objectified in the media (much like many female athletes are).

Beachle was quoted in an article titled, Winners, if they only look good as well, where she said,

“If you don’t fit that image then you’re not worthy of support … It’s a really unreasonable ethic to have,” she says.

I totally agree with the Sporty Sistas when they say,

“admiration is not only about their sporting success, but also heavily due to their sex appeal.” and “sexiness is the defining attribute that determines how big these endorsement can get. And with endorsements comes the ability to drum up support, and thus promote a longer and more recognised career.”

They have valid point here, and they certainly drove it home.

Sexiness sells. That’s what the media is interested in. And anything (or anyone) that “sells” has a better chance of getting endorsed.

And sometimes, unfortunately for women, in order to be a successful, endorsed athlete, you need to be perfect on the field, in life, and in the mirror.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves – when it comes to the health of these athletes, where can we draw the line?


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Steph Gilmore took first place at the Rip Curl Mademoiselle in France last week and is headed with momentum toward the Billabong Girls Pro Rio – event No 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour.

Surfing is an incredible sport. I love to watch people like Steph Gilmore who are so awesome at it. They make it look so easy.

I’ve tried surfing in only 3-foot waves on a long board and find it extremely difficult. These girls are kicking butt on some of the biggest waves in the world, doing tricks on a short board. Truly amazing, and it definately deserves some attention.

More about Steph Gilmore can be found on Pretty Tough , and you can also check out Surfervillage.com for more information about women surfing, specifically.

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Malia Manuel (Wailua, HI), at only fourteen years of age, has claimed the Women’s U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill. She beat opponent Coco Ho (North Shore, HI), 17, making ASP history as the youngest finalist ever at the US Open of Surfing.

Here’s what she had to say, according to the Pretty Tough sports blog.

“I’m so stoked right now,” Manuel said. “My sponsors gave me the wildcard into this event and I was just happy to be here. To get to surf against some of my heroes and to be in the Final with my friend Coco (Ho) is just something I would have never dreamed of.”

I think that’s really incredible, and it’s so promising that so many young athletes are competing at such a high level. It really says a lot for the future of women’s sports.

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I came across this video tonight and thought it was pretty cool. I think surfing is one of those sports that is unappreciated on a large level – especially on the East Coast, and particularly among women. Sofia Mulanovich is one of few who has broken through the stereotypes of this male-dominated sport and has sincerely achieved greatness.

Originally from Lima, Peru, Sofia grew up with two brothers and learned to swim at the young age of three. She began to boogie board at the age of five, and traded it in for her surf board at the age of nine.

At only 25 years old (soon to be 26), Sofia has She is the first South American to ever win the World Title. In fact, in 2004, she won three out of the six Wold Championship Tour events and finished the season as World Champion. She is sponsored by Roxy.

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