Girls in surfing

Ladies Longboard Champion Louise West talksto Surfs'up

Although a relative newcomer to competitions - Louise has been competing for three years, she has managed to notch up one first place - in the recent Red Stripe Longboarding Championships, two second places, two third places and four fourth places in individual competitions as well as British Ladies Longboard Champion 2002.

After entering the world in Buckinghamshire, Louise moved to Perranporth in Cornwall when she was six. Drawn to the ocean, she joined the Perranporth Surf Life-Saving Club and from there got involved with water activities. Her older brother one day leant her his 6'2" board to try but finding it a bit small for a beginner she invested in a 7'8" mini mal. After that a friend took the time to teach her the basics. She was sixteen and her obsession with surfing grew from then. At first she was very self conscious at being the only female out in a sea of male surfers. "I used to hold back from catching waves so as not to get in the way of the guys but as time went on I think they realised I was serious about surfing and started to encourage me by calling me onto the waves". She also thinks guys have respect for girls that give surfing a go and adds "after all, as you know, it's not half as easy as it looks!". Louise herself has great respect and admiration for Layne Beachley who she feels has proven that women can surf as well as guys. "I take my hat off to her for having the guts to do tow-in's - you would never see me getting towed-in at 'Jaws'!" She also feels that Megan Abubo has given women's longboarding credibility with her grace and style. "She rocks!" enthuses Louise.

Louise's current board is a 9'2" traditional nose rider. "It holds well on the nose whilst still being manouvoerable with a funky Austin Powers type design on the underside which definately stands out in the water!" she says. Her next board is to be a full on performance nose rider which will work both off the tail for high scoring of big manouvoers and also for classic nose rides to fulfill the contest criteria. Oblong will do a fantastic resin tint as the design for this board. The combination of talented surfer and perfectly designed board is a winning formula that many sponsored surfers and their sponsors aspire to and it seems that Louise and Oblong are getting it right. Oblong specialise in custom boards and pride themselves on the attention to individual detail that is given to every board they make. Louise also receives sponsorship from Kahuna clothes and watches, Gul wetsuits and Cobian sandals plus moral support from her boyfriend Harold who she says is a star who encourages, gives tips and constructive criticism.

Billabong's Beachley claims unprecedented Title

The world's top female surfer, Layne Beachley (AUS) set an unprecedented record by winning her sixth consecutive ASP world title earlier this year at the Billabong Pro Maui. This is feat that even men's champion surfer Kelly Slater (FL, USA) hasn't achieved so it was a significant moment for Layne becoming surfing's only six-time consecutive world champion. Her amazing feat is one to go down in surfing history books!

"She was ripping,"

The Billabong Odyssey is a three year project to track down and surf the biggest waves on the planet. During a Billabong Odyssey expedition to Todos Santos Island off of Ensenada, Mexico, Layne Beachley rode this massive wall, believed to be the largest ever ridden by a female. Beachley was towed into the huge wave behind a Yamaha Waverunner driven by her boyfriend, Ken Bradshaw.
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour (WCT)

International Stars

Billabong Team Rider Layne Beachley - 6 x Consecutive World Champion

words of wisdom and inspiration from Layne........

"To stay at the top I know I am going to have to continue to improve and never become complacent - that alone keeps me motivated and inspired"

"You surround yourself with positive people and forget about the ones that tell you that you can't"

"Everything is impermanent. Remember that and nothing will ever surprise you"

"Women have brought style, grace, femininity and power to the male dominated world of surfing".

"Breaking and creating records is a real motivating factor behind my competitive strategy".

"The beast had about a 45-50ft face and was incredibly frightening but adrenalising at the same time so now I want to go bigger!!!!"


Here are some of the reponses so far:


I'm Alicat, 33 years old, local break Caswell Swansea. 2 years into surfing, I started up on a foay and have bought a 7ft6 NSP for this season.

I was soooo excited to drive down to France with my brand new NSP and try the surfing beaches, but on my first outing I nosedived into the wave, my leash pinged like an elastic band and the board rocketed like a missile into my face. Now I know the old adage - always try to cover your head when you fall off - but its not that easy when you're trying not to drown at the same time! For the rest of the 2 weeks in France I had a huge black eye and lost my confidence so I didn't do any more surfing. My hubby made me wear sunnies at every opportunity as he felt like a wife-beater

Anyway - I am such a surfing klutz, most sessions I end up with the board bopping me on the head. I would love to hear about other people's unfortunate events!

Alys Carlisle

Hey Sara,

Emailing to enter the comp to win a watch. My name's Rachel Bell. I live at Maryland, Western Lane, Mumbles, Swansea. SA3 4EY and I'm 25. I'd like to see more photos of girls actually surfing on the site. They always seem to be standing around or doing something else but it'd be good to see them doing what we know them for.

Regards, Rachel

Film Reviews


Filmed by Bill Ballard and featuring only women, including his wife Rochelle, this film captures the beauty and intensity of the women's surfing movement. These ladies are pushing their limits and the terms high-performance and power spring to mind watching them. An inspiration for all women surfers and for many a man too! Starring Rochelle, Keala Kennelly, Megan Abubo, Serena Brooke, Lisa Anderson, Layne Beachley, Trudy Todd, Pauline Menczer, Holly Monkman, Julie Morris, Sena Seramur and more. Filmed in The Mentawais, Tahiti, Australia, Hawaii and California. Tow-in sequence filmed at Hawaii's outer reefs. Available on video and DVD.