"I’m a feminist, bisexual, hippy, traveler."
This is the giving season and ain’t that grand? One moment of the year when we think of our loved ones before we think of ourselves. And what did you buy for your loved one? Some jewels? Chocolate? Did you ever think about buying her a bikini that promises not to come off in heavy water? I stumbled across the Surf Worthy campaign a month ago now and it make me click because the company promised a revolution in the surf bikini. Then I emailed owner George Pixie (who is a woman) because I was curious.
And you may think this is outside of BeachGrit‘s typical piece but wait until you get to the end and George thanks God for BeachGrit. Then you’ll feel all anti-depressive and buy a bikini. Win-win!
What is wrong with women’s swimsuits?
I fully got into my surfing when I lived in Indo for 7 years, working as a Dive Instructor. The challenge of the Indo waves really pushed me to be a better surfer. But back in 2004, even with all the major surf brands in Bali, the only bikini I could find for surfing was an itty-bitty string pieces of cloth, that ripped off your boobs or exposed your arse on the first duck dive or wipe out.
Here I was trying to face big, heavy waves as a new surfer, I had enough challenges without needing to fu*king re-dress myself every 5 minutes. It was enough frustration to make me source out a factory and give them patterns for my idea of the best stay-on bikini.
What did you do right?
After wearing this sample my first surf session it was a total game changer. I no longer had to think about what I was wearing and could just concentrate on the waves. Then to wear it on the live-aboard diving boats under my wetsuit, I would dive 4 times a day, ripping off the suit every time I got back on the boat. Mine was the only bikini staying in place. It made changing and drying and much quicker experience, as well as the comfort of it not shifting under my suit. Then I realized it was an all seasons bikini.
I was receiving as much attention from women dive colleagues and guests, as I was from women surfers. They wanted to know where they could buy the stay put bikini I was wearing! It was this point that I thought, OK there is a real need for this, maybe I should make a business.
Unfortunately, money wise, I hadn’t a pot to piss in at this point, and it took me 7 years work and travel to raise enough funds to make my first collection.
In those years, a lot of new women’s brands hit the scene with more durable surf bikinis, but still none as good as ours. Our tops have thicker straps and a wide under-breast support band, they are still the sleekest and most secure I have ever seen. We recently had our design tested by big wave surfer, Brittany Gomulka in Waimea Bay, who said our bikini “stayed on like no other”.
And no-one is producing anything as secure as our bikini shorts, that tie tightly, fully around the waist, and have a proper crotch lining that doesn’t reveal the anatomy of your vagina to the world, ( no camel toe).
Maybe I’m getting old, but a lot of our loyal ambassadors and customers around the world are the kind of women who surf every day, or as much as they can. When you’re surfing that much, you want to feel comfy and have flexibility with your clothing to move. Not every woman wants to wear a g-string bikini pant.
It’s hard enough as a woman to be taken seriously out in the line-up, I paddle out on the defensive sometimes feeling a need to prove myself, especially in crowds. So in that frame of mind, I don’t want to be feeling that way with half my ass in a dude’s face. But these are 90% of the pictures you see on social media, surf women’s butts. It’s fine, I like looking at women’s butts too. Those bikinis are just not my style. Plus – butt cheek board rash? No thanks.
I’m not a prude, I love surfing naked when I get the rare opportunity, (and not at risk from being arrested). But that’s the difference between naturism and voyeurism. I’m more naturist.
How tough is it to be in the women’s surf business? To deal with the hideous surf media?
If I was a guy launching this new cut of boardies for men to wear, maybe we would have seen my design on Magic Seaweed by now, or someone would have picked up on it. (We wrote to everyone including MSW.)
But that’s the challenge, the surf media is still very much run by men who want to write about men.
It has been hard enough to get our company off the ground with virtually no cash. Then you’re bringing out a bikini not deemed as sexy as others, because we won’t compromise over functionality. So I think even women surfers can be hesitant as image consciousness is such a big deal. But they are flattering, and just the best feeling to surf in. The problem is getting women in them in the first place, to see how good they feel. And that means publicity.
I thought, OK, we have a collection of earth-conscious, sustainable bikinis, featuring art by women surf artists in our community. And a new design of boardies never-seen-before. We’re trying some new stuff, we’re taking it back to grassroots, our designs are made durable to last 1000s of bashings and not fall apart after one season, the designs are rad. Getting a few women’s surf mags to write about them would be the easy bit! Hahahahahaha.
Absolutely no solidarity coming from the women surf magazine world. I’ve become bitter about it. As every one of them has just ignored us. Not even a reply e-mail saying, “no, sorry, it’s not really our thing”, just nothing!
Are we that much of a threat to the advertising sponsorship they get from the big brands?! Is it because we talk publicly about fair wages? Fuck knows, they won’t tell us.
Maybe soul surfers are a dying breed? Maybe surfers today no longer fit my ideal, that we are – separating ourselves from the bullshit big corps and dumb patriots that fuck the world up.
It’s getting harder to see this kind of human out in the line-up.
For me, surfing is about respecting other people out there, a tribe of non-conformists who want to feel the power of mother-nature, as raw, spiritual energy. It’s no boarders.
I look at surfing as an artform. I’m inspired to create something worthy of real female surfers, something they can be proud of wearing, and that works properly to rip it up in the waves. That’s why we’re Surf Worthy.
But I’m not seeing any of that in the women’s surf media world. Surf media seems to be driven by world ranking numbers and sponsorship deals. Not real life surfers.
I look at a recent women’s surf magazine online, one of the big ones, I find a feature.. “how to make a sea shell mirror”.
I’m a feminist, bisexual, hippy, traveler who’s hustled my way around the world doing every immigrant, badly paid job going, anything I could find to keep surfing. Pot-washing in France, farm work in Oz, cleaning houses in Cali, anything to keep travelling and surfing. What the fuck do I want to do with a seashell mirror?
I’m lucky enough to have had a mattress to sleep on the last 15 years!
Not to mention that taking shells from the beach is ruining coastlines, and fucking up the status quo of the food chain in the ocean. It’s like they are trying to pretend they are still a bit hippy, but they haven’t got a fu*king clue.
So yes, the surf media doesn’t appear to relate to all kinds of surfers, especially non-wealthy ones. If they can’t see what we’re trying to do for the world and for women surfers, is worth a few measly lines, then fine! Fuck them. At least BeachGrit gave us a chance, thank God you guys are alternative.
Thank God is right. Wanna buy for a loved one? Link here!