Oh boy, where do I even start this one. Roxy doesn’t tell you about these days. The days when you can’t even catch a wave, when you feel like a failure, and you get out of the water crying. When I went for breakfast afterwards at Zwart Cafe I must have looked so dejected because the waitress gave me a free granola bar. It was 486 calories of pure humanity. And that’s when I started to devise a proposal for a worldwide women’s only surf hour affecting every beach on the planet…..
Today I went to surf a beautiful left hand reef point break. It’s fast and it’s steep, but there’s a channel and I’d surfed the spot before and coped fine and caught heaps of waves. Except this time there were about 15 to 20 guys in the water. Initially I positioned myself off on the shoulder, like a bottom feeder fish trying to catch the scraps that no one else wanted. That didn’t really work so I moved closer to the peak. But when the sets came teenage boys would just paddle around me, with a look on their faces that said “yeah I’m paddling around you grandma, what you gonna do about it?”
So is a women and girls only surf hour the way forward? I’m thinking 8 till 9 on a Saturday morning. It would be similar to the women only sessions in most UK public pools. In these sessions women can swim up and down the lanes without getting splashed by men doing butterfly of all strokes, or some kind of bizarre backstroke/breaststroke combo, whereby everyone else in the lane ends up getting kicked in the down belows. The person to head this campaign is either Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lawrence or Courtney Love. Hillary is unfortunately a little busy at this time. Men will be allowed onto the beach, but not in the water. It’ll be a good opportunity for them to play with the kids, or maybe they could video us. Heaven knows, we’ve videoed them enough times. They can also chop up the watermelon and prepare coconuts, or thermos flasks of piping hot chocolate.
Professional surfers, of both sexes, will be wholly supportive. Kelly Slater will be interviewed on the BBC and CNN saying…
“Saturday morning from 8 till 9 is a great time for me to dust the skirting boards, make banana bread, and chat with my relatives on skype”
And I can just hear Mick Fanning in his manly Aussie brogue at Snapper Rocks saying….
“come on lads, its 5 to 8, let’s just catch one more wave, we’ve gotta get out for women’s hour”
Dane Reynolds and Dave Rastovich will both be offering post-surf shoulder rubdowns on the beach. Gerry Lopez will lead a post-surf yoga session on the beach at Pipeline. All the surf companies, will of course be 100 percent behind the project because it will inevitably bring much more people into the sport. I envisage surf shops organizing board and wetsuit try out days. A sense of camaraderie will develop, with women supporting and encouraging each other. We won’t have to feel self-conscience about men judging us. And it won’t just be young athletic women, there’ll be new mums, older women, women from all different faiths and cultural backgrounds.
The scheme will require zero government resources because it will be policed by the local community. If any man contravenes the policy, he will have his boards taken away by the President of that area’s local surf association for two months. He will be given a boogie board as penance. The offender will also have his photo in the local newspaper, with an upside down shaka symbol emblazoned across the top.
Of course the alternative to my utopian vision, is that I just stop whining and stop being a big girl’s blouse. Deep down I don’t think gender specific environments are very healthy. What would Courtney Love really do if she had been in my situation this morning? Courtney Love would have put on her red lipstick, got psyched and would have just gone for it. Hillary would use her vast intellect to calculate when and how the waves were breaking, and she would catch the ones that swing out wide. Jennifer Lawrence can probably bust out more pull ups than Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, she wouldn’t let teenagers paddle around her. Oprah uses her charisma and compassion to charm everyone around her.
So I’m going to start surfing with an alter ego, based on the traits of my feminist role-models. I will call my surfing alter ego ‘SHE-RA’ and when I paddle for waves I will yell “FOR THE HONOUR OF GREYSKULL … I HAVE THE POWER”. Men and teenage boys will understandably be scared shitless by the crazy bitch, and they will give me a wide berth. I’m also going to start adding protein powder to my smoothies. And I’m going to start eating more granola bars. They’ve got like the good fats in ’em.