Women’s Surfing

It only has been in recent times that women’s surfing has made it’s mark.  Now, they are not only making their mark, but dominating in a once male only sport.

Surfer girls in media:

Flicking through the pages of surfing magazines, there’s not a lot of pictures of women’s surfing.  Although the men are still getting much of the publicity on print, the women have found a new weapon of recognition in social media. Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat have given women in surfing a form of media that enables them to relate to each other and their ever growing fan base.
Platforms such as Instagram are enabling all of the lifestyle elements of surfing to be shown instead of purely pictures of waves and men doing carves.
The most notable of the modern surfer girl who has taken this to the next level is Alana Blanchard.  Although she has leveraged off her aesthetics, she has managed combine the lifestyle elements of surfing to attract a huge fan base.  She models Rip Curl surf wear, promotes healthy living, surf yoga and the love of nature from her homeland in Hawaii.  In fact, Alana has become so popular on Instagram that she has almost double the followers of the current men’s world Champion John John Florence.
Surfing for women and young girls has become more about the lifestyle that comes with it than the sport.  While men seem to be attracted to competition. The surfer girls of the future seem to be more interested in surf fashion, surfing holidays and finding a connection to the sport through other topics that interest them.

Women’s Surfing Competitions:

While women’s surfing is still a way behind the men in terms of equality (see below for 2018 update!), it is certainly gaining rapidly.  The women’s world championship tour has less competitors and less prize money. But due to the ever increasing skills of the girls on tour, it is gaining notoriety.  The competition is tight and the women are bringing a level of elegance to the sport that is unmatched by the men.

With the likes of Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore laying down rail turns of the same quality as the men, it is only a matter of time before real equality is achieved.


Stephanie Gilmore_ 6th time World Champion

Equal by nature #CatchThisWave:

On the 6th September 2018, WSL announced that there would be equal pay for women and men on competitions in 2019, closing the gender pay gap. “When I was told there was going to be equal pay for men and women, I pretty much cried,” said current World No. 1 Stephanie Gilmore.

Watch the video from WSL below:

Equal By Nature

Equal by Nature. From 2019, female and male athletes will receive equal prize money across all WSL controlled events. #CatchThisWave

Posted by World Surf League on Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Surfer Girls and Big Waves:

Not content with watching the men there are a band of surfer girls out there taking them on in waves of consequence.  Justine Dupont, Keala Kennelly, Flick Palmateer and a bunch of others are showing that surfing is truly a sport for everyone.

Pioneered first by Layne Beachley, girls are now taking their bodies to the limit and surfing waves. Such as Jaws in Maui, Mavericks in California and Punta Galea in the Basque region of Spain.  These waves have the type of energy that can tear the limbs off Tarzan. And this band of ground breaking women are taking big wave surfing to the next level.

Justine Dupont_ Big wave surfer 

The most influential female surfers of all time:

Please don’t get offended if I miss out a few influential female surfers.  I know there are many, but I’m a surfer too, and these are the women in surfing that I think have changed the game in my time.

Let’s start with Pam Burridge.  Pam Burridge won a World Championship in 1990 and together with Wendy Botha, put women’s surfing firmly on the map.  They enjoyed a great rivalry in a time when Men’s surfing was in a golden era so to take some of that lime light was even more astonishing.

First Surfer Girls Generation

Wendy Botha.  Wendy was a trail blazer in women’s surfing. Not just because of her great ability in the water and 4 world titles.  She was determined to put women’s surfing on the map.  Frustrated by the lack of recognition that the women were getting. As the current World Champion she posed naked for Playboy.  Although the hard line feminists out there disagreed with what she did. it bought a lot of media coverage to the the sport of women’s surfing when there was’ much out there.  Wendy Botha was brave and an absolute trailblazer for the surfer girls of today.

Lisa Anderson.  Lisa was another 4 time world champ and took the reigns that both Wendy Botha and Pam Burridge laid down.  She was a quintessential surfer girl.  Blonde hair, olive skin and all the skills to match. She was unrivalled for a period there and was the first of the women to capitalise on the money being poured into surfing.  Sponsored by Quiksilver, she managed to draw thousands of girls to the sport. Through the medium of surf wear and beach fashion.  Together with her sponsor, they successfully created and made famous board shorts for women. And developed a revenue stream for women’s surfing that still runs today.

Layne Beachley.  I don’t think this surfer girl needs any introduction. Staunchly competitive and righteously feminist, Layne became the most winning female surfer in history with 7 world titles.  Lane has fought for equality in pay since time began and did it by being vocal but also by showing the world that women had surfing skills too.  With raw power and silky skills, Layne was taking women’s surfing to a new level. And really putting surfing as a sport in general on the map.  In 2015 she was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia  (basically a knighthood) for her achievements in surfing. Her charitable efforts and her role in mentoring women from all sports.

Actual sufer Girls Generation

Steph Gilmore.  Again, I don’t think this surfer girl need any introduction.  Steph is a 6 times World Champ with only 1 title behind Layne.  Since her inception as a 17 year old school girl she won the Quicksilver Pro in her home town of the Gold Coast. She has set the world of women’s surfing alight.  With a beautiful smile, a happy go lucky attitude and the most fluid and powerful surfing of any female to date.

Steph has made women’s surfing sexy while keeping her clothes firmly on.  She has done just about everything in the sport and is still going.  Steph has also paved the way to equality in pay between men and women in the sport through her extreme popularity.  She joined the Quicksilver team a few years ago on a reported $2 million dollars a year and made it possible for women to really make surfing their career.

Alana Blanchard.  Unlike the other female surfers in this list, Alana isn’t a world champion.  In fact, she isn’t even on the world championship tour anymore.  But Alana’s influence on women’s surfing in attracting new fans and adding an income stream to the girls is without parallel.  She is the new school of women’s surfing and has shown it possible to make a great amount of money out of fashion and lifestyle promotion of surfing.  Yes, she does bare a bit of flesh, particularly on her rump.  But with 1.8 million Instagram fans she is making millions of dollars and good luck to her!

Want to go Surfing?

There have been many factors in stopping girls getting into surfing.  Male domination, self esteem, sexism and more.  Nowadays, places like Australian Surf Tours, Surf Sistas, Surf Goddess Retreats and Kelea Surf Spa are running exclusive women’s packages.  Running Surf Camps with a difference to cater for women only adding the touches that the female surf traveller is after.  Surf yoga, surf yoga retreats, organic food, relaxed living and healthy living are all part of these that women of today can take advantage of without the prying eyes and competitive nature of the men.

Now is an amazing time to get into surfing for girls and women alike.  Don’t wait…  ask google where your closest women’s surf camp or surf school is and get started today.

Australian Surf Tours _ Ladies Session



And you would you be interested in a Surf camp only with girls? For any inquires about surf camp Women’s only surf lessons/ Surf camps. Please contact info@australiansurftours.com.au


Pin It on Pinterest

1-5 April 2021