Staying Stoked

I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and goodwill out there in the surf community, after I shared my experience of an unpleasant encounter in the water. Thank you.

I am also gratified that these difficult conversations about conflict and surf rage can be had in such a spirit of mutual respect. It has been interesting to read a variety of opinions that are both positive and forward thinking.

It is clear from the comments shared that there is still some work to be done in the way we treat one other in the water, wrt localism, observance of rules and etiquette, the education of new surfers on these rules, and the treatment of women. Many men have come forward with words of support and outrage. Thank you.

At the same time, many women have come forward and shared their experiences of verbal abuse in varying degrees. While I understand that it happens to both men and women, the power ratio when it is unleashed by a man upon a women is not even. Added to that, women who grew up in the years when surfing was more gendered (as well as men and women who grew up at a disadvantage when beaches were segregated) are at a historical disadvantage as far as opportunity to learn goes. In many cases opportunities for skill acquisition have only presented later in life. To be verbally abused, or otherwise subjugated in the water, perhaps as part of a traditional ‘grom’ rite of passage is therefore problematic. I have observed that many of you have voiced concern about this too. I am an experienced waterwoman, but what happened to me might have been more devastating if I were a beginner.

I have noticed that this type of behaviour has not happened to me on the bigger days, when it is more challenging to paddle out to the back. The assumption that you’re *female/on a different board/a beginner/must earn your place* evaporates into an epic atmosphere of shared stoke. So the potential is there to expand upon, to not make assumptions, to share the stoke, even on the smaller days.

My belief is that with more conversations like this, where everyone has an opportunity to share their lived experience in an atmosphere of respect, and then reflect on the lived experiences of others, we can take negative incidents and turn them around to become ones of growth and learning 🌺✌️

Stay Stoked 🤙🤙

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