You either believe or you don't.
The central tenant of last year’s award-winning documentary Girls Can’t Surf was the charge, and it was correct, that menstruating pro surfers though the eighties, nineties and most of the two thousands were given the worst conditions at any given contest.
As soon as the wind hit or the tide got too low for the men to shred, the beach would clear out and out would go the sport’s legends, Pauline Menczer, Jodie Cooper, Pam Burridge, Wendy Botha etc.
1985’s rookie of the year Jorja Smith says women were forced to surf “this shitty, hell-hole, scum pit [part] of the ocean” .
I slept in a little yesterday, missed half of the men’s first round, but was thrilled by the waves, “best Pipeline ever for a competition” said Doz, and electrified at seeing Pipe regular Moana Jones Wong create history and iconic, impossible-to-argue with shots, arms above head and so on, when the women hit the water.
The viscosity and abundance of frothy saliva in my greedy jaws, thick as a ball of paste, reflected my animation.
A fateful day, to be sure.
We got sixteen men’s heats.
No women. No… talk… even of the women surfing.
Was it an act of chivalry, the WSL figuring the surf was way above the level of most of the tour’s surfers’ skill? And the magnitude of the looming catastrophe was such that it would destroy any claims for equality?
Or was it proof that the chauvinism so rightly hit with the spotlight in Girls Can’t Surf hasn’t gone anywhere; that when the waves are perfect, the girls are given the revoltingly slimy end of the stick, so to speak.
Chivalry or chauvinism? One or the other.
“It was a fucking joke and a disgrace to all equality in sports pushes ever,” one top pro told me.
You either believe or you don’t.
Today, no men, all women, the surf an easy and picture perfect two-to-four-foot, a time, usually, for a lay-day and for tourists and weekend warriors to have a little thrash around at the famous break.
When Moana Wong posted her joy at being awarded a Pipe wildcard yesterday, big-wave legend Ian Cairns, still squirting testosterone even as he nears seventy, wrote: “I hope it’s 10-foot and perfect. You’ll kill it!”
Yeah, she would’ve.
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