Festival Film: Girls Can’t Surf



You don’t have to be a surfing enthusiast to appreciate this enjoyable documentary.

Girls Can’t Surf tells how a passionate band of brave young women fought to find a place for themselves in the male dominated world of big wave surfing.

It features rare archival footage of surfing 40 years ago and spectacular recent cinematography of women risking their lives in the giant waves of Hawaii.


Among the surfing greats featured are Jodie Cooper, Frieda Zamba, Pauline Menczer, Lisa Anderson, Pam Burridge, Wendy Botha and Layne Beachley.

The first women surfers in the 1980s were scorned, mocked and patronised.

If they were looking for sponsorships they were told to stick to cosmetics and perfumes, not compete with the men for sporting sponsorships.



The early world championships for women surfers offered barely half the prize money available for men.

It was fascinating to see how the public mood changed over the years, specially after the advent of the internet.

Do women surf in a different ocean, in different waves? Why should they be paid any less than the men?” asked online commentators.



Remarkably, the determination of the pioneer women surfers has paid off. Surfing is one of the few international sports where women have equal pay with men.

Girls Can’t Surf is part of the Perth Festival Lotterywest Films and will show at UWA’s Somerville Auditorium from Monday, January 11 to Sunday, January 17.



Watch the trailer…