Column: Olympics spotlights female surfers at long last

Carissa Moore secured a unique position in sports activities historical past together with her seize of the Olympics first ladies’s browsing gold medal. Her feat got here as no wonder to Jim Kempton, president of the California – read more on Surf Report LA – Surf Museum in Oceanside.

“There couldn’t be a extra easiest individual to take the stand for the USA and Hawaii,” her house state, says the previous editor-in-chief of Surfer mag, who’s a pal of Carissa and her father.

Along with being known as the most efficient lady surfer, Kempton says, “she is the epitome of the aloha spirit and what the Olympics stand for.”

The four-time reigning global champion has participated in numerous newbie browsing contests in San Diego – Surf Report published an article- . In 2018, Moore received the Tremendous Lady Surf Professional pageant in Oceanside. She is slated to compete within the 2021 Oceanside match on Sept. 17-19, recent off her gold medal win.


The one actual Olympics wonder to Kempton was once the early removing of seven-time global champion Stephanie Gilmore, of Australia.

Kempton is among the essential global government on ladies’s browsing. On July 7, 2021, as though completely timed with the outlet of the Tokyo Olympics, he revealed “Ladies On Waves,” a 456-page compendium of ladies concerned within the game.

It reaches again a number of centuries — from folklore, to Hawaiian royalty, to girls breaking the balsa board ceiling.

Let’s check your feminine browsing I.Q. Are the next statements true or false?

  • The oldest surfboard ever came upon belonged to a girl.
  • Crime novelist Agatha Christie, born in 1890, was once an avid surfer.
  • Billionheiress Doris Duke took up the game with Hawaiian browsing legend Duke Kahanamoku.
  • Prior to she turned into Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jean Baker incessantly surfed in Malibu.
  • The primary feminine recognized to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and surf South Africa’s difficult Jeffreys Bay was once local Californian Donna Matson.

If you happen to spoke back true to all of the above, award your self a gold superstar.

Kempton introduced his surfer chronology with historic goddesses and Hawaiian surf queens. The sector’s oldest recognized surfboard dates again to the early 1600s. It was once came upon in a collapse Kona, Hawaii, in 1905 and belonged to a girl entombed there — Princess Kaneamuna.

Browsing was once lengthy a Hawaiian custom for men and women. In reality, a unique surf location on Waikiki was once reserved in particular for the Hawaiian queen.


“There was once an enormous wish to have this entire aspect of browsing historical past known,” stated Kempton, who spent a large number of time protecting ladies when he labored at Surfer mag, of which he was once editor-in-chief within the early Eighties.

His inspiration got here from an showcase devoted to girls a decade in the past on the surf museum. “We spent a few years researching it on the time.” This gave him each the theory and the framework for the e book.

Kempton’s historical past is going a long way past the highest 40 ladies giants of browsing and their existence tales. It examines discrimination, entrepreneurial ventures, promotion and expansion of feminine browsing occasions, in addition to the advances of ladies in different arenas.

He contains just about 800 ladies in his chronology and carried out 156 interviews to convey their tales to existence whilst tying them to achievements, eras and the improvement of the game, so the e book doesn’t learn like an encyclopedia. Kempton began his undertaking in 2018, dedicating the majority of his time to it throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.


He says he was once in truth aided by way of the pandemic since the best ladies surfers, so continuously at the pageant circuit, have been at house, treading water till shuttle unfolded.

The primary version of the e book bought out inside of 3 weeks, and Kempton already is operating on an replace and including 2020 Olympics leads to the second one version.

There have been some surprises alongside the best way. One concerned Isabel Letham, an Australian icon lengthy depicted as the primary lady surfer there. In Sydney press archives, in an editorial a couple of lifesaving membership, Kempton got here throughout a browsing photograph of Isma Amor that pre-dates Letham.

He explores the explosion of browsing’s recognition amongst early life within the wake of Hollywood browsing motion pictures and songs, ignited in 1959 by way of “Gidget,” and portraying a birthday party way of life and bathing good looks stereotypes.


Regardless of the Nineteen Sixties’ emphasis on liberation, ladies within the browsing global have been anticipated to be eye sweet at the seaside, no longer using the waves, Kempton stories. But ladies surfers in historic Hawaii have been handled as equals to the lads.

Browsing since has modified, thank you to girls’s patience and power to stay pushing and no longer be glad with “I’ll throw you a bone,” Kempton says.

The concept that that ladies are best with males on small waves additionally has been shattered. In 2020, the most important wave surfed by way of a person or a lady was once by way of Brazilian Maya Gabeira, who rode a 74-foot wave in Portugal. French surfer Justine DuPont is credited with making the second one largest wave of about 72 ft that very same 12 months.

San Diegans have performed key roles in ladies’s surf historical past. Faye Baird was once the earliest feminine surfer to hit the radar in California – read more on Surf Report LA – . She placed on a torch-lit New Yr’s Eve surf demonstration for the outlet of the Challenge Seaside Ballroom in 1926.


Faye Baird, with Ocean Beach surf buddy, Charlie Wright, circa 1926, has been recognized as San Diego's first female surfer.

Faye Baird, with Ocean Seaside surf spouse, Charlie Wright, circa 1926, has been known as San Diego – Surf Report published an article- ’s first feminine surfer.

(Courtesy of the California – read more on Surf Report LA – Surf Museum)

Within the early Nineteen Sixties, Linda Benson, of Encinitas, received a name as an enormous within the ladies’s browsing global. She was once the primary feminine to damage the media gender barrier when pictured at the quilt of Surf Information mag in 1963.

Margo Oberg, of L. a. Jolla, pioneered ladies’s big-wave using and ruled 4 years of worldwide pageant sooner than completing highschool. In her first contest at L. a. Jolla Shores in 1963, she received the 12-year-old boys department — as a 10-year-old woman.

Additionally within the Nineteen Sixties, Joyce Hoffman had a string of firsts at the surf circuit, together with profitable 3 nationwide browsing championships in a row, at the side of two back-to-back global titles, and changing into the primary documented feminine to journey Pipeline. She grew up in Dana Level however was once based totally in Del Mar after being employed by way of the state of California – read more on Surf Report LA – as its first feminine lifeguard.


In 1966, “Billy” Riley, a lady supervisor of a Refuge Island resort, satisfied the San Diego – Surf Report published an article- Town Council to degree an international browsing contest, hanging San Diego – Surf Report published an article- at the map as a revered browsing website online.

Barbie Baron is assumed to have began the primary woman-owned surf retailer in California – read more on Surf Report LA – when she opened Offshore Surf Store in Oceanside in 1969.

Debbie Beacham, of L. a. Jolla, along with profitable an international championship identify within the early Eighties, co-founded and ran the Ladies’s Skilled Surfers group and co-produced the primary all-woman surf documentary, “Surfer Lady.”

Whilst Kempton notes there isn’t a unique position put aside for girls surfers on the California – read more on Surf Report LA – Surf Museum, there are memorabilia and numerous well-known feminine surfer forums — together with the “Mona Lisa” of the museum assortment.


Guests audibly gasp after they see, encased in transparent plastic, the shark-bitten board ridden by way of 13-year-old browsing superstar Bethany Hamilton when she misplaced her left arm to a 13-foot tiger shark in Kauai, Hawaii in 2003.

Regardless of having one of the vital very best waves of all of the coast and a historical past of innovation and award-winning surfers (female and male), “ San Diego – Surf Report published an article- may be very under-covered,” Kempton stated, including it can be because of a loss of surf media dwelling within the space.

San Diego – Surf Report published an article- is probably the most underrated browsing town at the globe — it’s the Rodney Dangerfield,” notes Kempton, regarding the comic whose catchphrase was once “I don’t get no appreciate.”