stokeduser2's picture
Geraldine Royal

Women Surfers are on the rise... So What?

There's a theory called 'Male Y chromosome extinction theory' it's interesting in a very scientific way. Simply put, over millions and millions of years of evolution, the Y (male) chromosome has disintegrated past the point where it is no longer necessary for life and some theorists believe it will eventually become extinct... That's bad news for any blokes. But, on the plus none of us alive today will be aware of it as it's not likely to happen in the next 4.6 million years.

Long story short if we survive the terrible odds stacked against us as a species for the next 5 millennia the 'surfer dude' will well and truly be dead and gone.

But there's something similar happening in the surf scene and it's much more immediate. If trends continue as they are the majority of tomorrow's surfers will most likely be women.

Female surfers under the age of 19 are the largest growing sector of our sport (past time, hobby or Job - if you're lucky). Closely followed by women over 65 years of age. Women are flocking to the ocean board under the arm and paddling into an ocean once dominated by men. 

Some interesting facts

  • Younger women are the largest growing sector of surfers growing by 20% since 2010.
  • Young Male surfer numbers plummet in the same period by almost 30,000.
  • WSL introduce pay parity and increase the number of women's surfing events
  • WSL advise cinematographers to use discretion when using close up - especially in regards to female surfers rears.

What does it all mean?

 

Not that much really, surfing through history has always been pretty progressive and pivots like this aren't met with shock and gasps but rather a stoic 'cool'.  Can you imagine cricket being as agile?

In response to new markets - You'll likely see more targeted marketing as businesses cotton-on to this emerging demographic and vie for their slice of the pie. It'll be interesting to see if the tired cliches of tight bikinis and busty blondes get dragged out or if businesses observe cultural changes and aim to empower young women?  
In terms of your local break, you might notice more young women and older ladies in the line-up and if you haven't already, expect to be out surfed as the blonde surfer 'dudette' takes off deeper and sticks it - try not to take it personally. 

 

What's behind the Rise of Female Surfers?

 

Depending on who you talk to there are a number of factors contributing to the shift. It could be the WSL's improved stance on participating women in regards to pay, event numbers and ... 'camera angles'. Demonstrating that one of surfing's largest organizations can literally pull the focus away from more marketable assets onto real talent - but that seems more like a symptom of the changing times. It could be that it aligns with growing sports trends in general. The health and fitness aspects of surfing align neatly with what's popular and appeal to younger women. The larger trend according to Australian Sports Commission (ASC) suggests that women are exercising and playing sports more than men.  

 

Or, it could be that it's just great fun and as a society, we've made a cultural shift towards equality across all aspects. Who knows? The long and short of it - it doesn't matter. 

Let's just go have fun - if you're a female surfer and you want to travel but not sure if the progressive nature of the industry extends to the Maldives, Indo, Samoa and even PNG check out these trips and enjoy.

 

 

Sources
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-24/women-more-active-than-men-nationw...

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6202-surfs-up-for-young-women-fifty-pl...

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/the-english-surfing-federation-recentl...

http://www.news.com.au/sport/sports-life/cinematographers-reportedly-ask...

Source: The Y chromosome is disappearing — so what will happen to men? ABC.Net.au 19 Jan 2018

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