Change is happening for women in surfing. Starting in 2019, the World Surfing League announced that they would offer equal pay to both male and female surfers. This makes them the first US-based global sporting league to introduce such an offer.
In 2016, The World Surfing League finally decided to address the gender pay gap in search of better balance. Professional female surfers have been fighters for this change for many years; not just for equal pay, but for equal access to events, visibility and sponsorship. They have come a long way as over the last decade, women’s position in surfing have undergone radical changes.
As a result of female surfers being a growing population still in the minority in the world of surfing, researchers found that people often overlook that women who surf tend to stick together. In doing so, they encourage one another to engage in surfing even though it is a heavily male-dominated sport. This allows female surfers to think through possibilities and effects of multiple forms of action in order to maintain their participation within the surfing world.
Despite this advancement, many who are part of The World Surfing League still follow hegemonic masculinity, sexualizing and objectifying women bodies, and the exclusion of women as being seen as authentic athletes. This change shows that changes in surfing are sport feminism matters, and through the constant activism and advocacy, change can happen.
Featured Image: Jason Childs/Getty Images U.S. surfer Lakey Peterson claims victory in the World Surfing League event in Australia in March, where the league says that both men and women will receive equal prize money.