"She Surf" does justice to women's surfing history

June 23, 2020 | Surfing
She Surf - The Rise of Female Surfing: a stunning surf book by Lauren L. Hill | Photo: gestalten

The world's busiest lineups are no longer a 100 percent male-dominated arena. That's a thing of the past.

Women are taking over - not only in sports but in society as well.

Although some might consider the previous statement a false cliché, the truth is that the ball of snow is slowly but steadily rolling down the mountain.

The rise of women across the globe is not the result of a single movement or demonstration. It's been a hard-fought battle taking place outdoors and indoors.

This inevitability makes the world a better place.

Women's surfing is responsible for some of the best surf books released in the 21st century. "She Surf" is definitely leading the armada.

The book is absolutely beautiful. It's a well-deserved tribute to the oppressed and the free, and a non-glorified eulogy to women in surfing.

Interestingly, the sport itself has always resembled a dance. And that couldn't be more feminine.

She Surf: The Rise of Female Surfing

Savvy Design, Meaningful Content

The publisher - gestalten - chose the ideal size and managed to balance between high-quality photography and insightful content perfectly.

Although the history of female surfing is yet to be written, "She Surf" is the first step toward a work that has to be done, sooner or later.

There are two sports in which women have dramatically improved and enhanced their skills, technicality, performance, and physical prowess over the last decade - football (soccer) and surfing.

But, especially in surfing, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Stephanie Gilmore or Bethany Hamilton beating a male counterpart in a heat.

Gilmore and Hamilton are two of the 26 female surfers highlighted in this hardcover, stitch bound, 256-page gem.

"She Surf: The Rise of Female Surfing" features over 200 photos and is organized around five main chapters.

"The Abundant Roots of Women Surfing" digs into the history and details the legacy of Hawaiian medicine women, goddesses, and Polynesian royalty.

"The Founding Mothers of Professional Surfing" invites us to learn more about the first women who fought for equal pay and made a name in the sport.

"Blue Crushing It" reveals how the stars of the 1990s solidified professional female surfing and set the stage for women's empowerment and gender equality.

"Making Design Matter" is a surprising collection of pages that unveil the role of women in surfboard design and how it shaped their style in the last 60 years.

"Irreversible Bikini" is a fundamental topic because it addresses the complicated relationship between surfing, hypersexualization, and apparel.

Female surfing: the role of women in the development of the sport grew exponentially in the last decades | Photo: gestalten

The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning

The female surfing scene is changing, but there's still a lot to be done.

Professional women surfers were finally granted equal pay, but the industry still has a long work ahead.

The signs are positive, and there's a consensus that there's no going back.

"Women now make up between 20 to 30 percent of surfers, and that number continues to grow," notes Lauren L. Hill, the author of "She Surf."

Hill is a professional, free surfer and writer.

She spent the past decade searching for new waves and documented the surf cultures she encountered along the way through an "eco-feminist lens."

What makes "Surf Surf" such a pivotal book in women's surfing is that the author was able to pour a factual report of the status quo without being biased or naive.

Hill's degrees in Environmental and Social Science have certainly helped her put things into perspective and be more informative and precise than some of the world's finest journalism.

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