An ancient wrong gets put right!
Ain’t nothing ever came easy for lil Bondi shredder Pauline Menczer: five two, one hundred pounds, crippled by arthritis, taxi-driver dad murdered, a mama on welfare looking after four kids on her own.
But she shredded.
Won the world amateur title as an eighteen year old, turned pro and hit fifth in her first year on tour.
Four years later, sponsorless (“I don’t have sponsors, because I don’t have big boobs, blonde hair and blue eyes”), the kid spent twenty-five of her thirty gees in prize money that year just to contest the tour.
And, won it.
“Menczer’s 1993 championship remains one of the sport’s great underdog stories, writes Matt Warshaw in his thoroughly indispensable Encyclopedia of Surfing. “Menczer won three of the first 11 events, and had a slender ratings lead going into the 12th and final contest in Hawaii. Two weeks before the event started, the 23-year-old Menczer had an arthritis attack that put her temporarily in a wheelchair; seven days later she began paddling her surfboard in a pool as a warm-up; on the day of the contest—held in windblown eight-foot surf at Sunset Beach—she scraped into the finals, and won the title. “I couldn’t even brush my own hair,” she said of her pre-title attack. “My body just shut down.”
The prize? A busted trophy.
A little over a week ago, surf industry legends Sophie Marshall and Mimi LaMontagne put together a gofundme with the aim of raising twenty-five gees for the champ, now fifty and driving a school bus in Byron Bay.
“Pauline helped pave the way for all women in the surf. So, as a collective group of women in the surf industry – who owe everything to these women – we decided it was time we help pay it forward to Pauline. Let’s come together as an industry, as women, and get Pauline Menczer the financial support that she never received!”
In an episode of Dirty Water last year, the superstar surf journalist Sean Doherty, who is the author of MP: the Life of Michael Peterson and My Brother’s Keeper: the official Bra Boy’s story, described Pauline as his favourite interview.
And swing to a cinema to watch Girls Can’t Surf, “a wild ride of clashing personalities, sexism, adventure and heartbreak, with each woman fighting against the odds to make their dreams of competing a reality.”