Why Coast’s women surfers never felt the “Blues”
PUBERTY Blues showed three decades ago how tough it could be for city girls on the edge of the surf culture, but for Sunshine Coast teacher Simone Day her early experience of the sport was one of acceptance and inclusion.
The 1981 film directed by Bruce Beresford showed misogyny at its worst.
"Not here,'' Simone said of the 70s and 80s surf scene on the Sunshine Coast.
"We hung out with the guys and weren't harassed. We were part of the crew.
"It depends on where you grew up. On the Sunshine Coast we were just a buddy and had a ball.
"I never felt uncomfortable. The Sydney beaches were a different kettle of fish.
"As a teen it would have turned me off. I'm still friends with the guys I surfed with then.
"W were all nice to each other. They didn't give us waves but we got our share.
"The Sunshine Coast has been a wonderful place (for women surfers).''
Simone, an elite competitor in her youth, went on to a teaching career which she combined with surf coaching becoming one of the first of either sex to ngain accreditation in the early 1980s.
This weekend women surfers from the 70s and 80s will gather at Coolum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Australian Women's Surfriders Association in 1976.
Simone and Luchana Bettel, who competed successfully for Queensland in the late 1970s and was still a finalist in the recent Noosa Festival of Surfing, have organised the weekend attracting former Australian champions Pauline Menczer, Pam Burridge, Jenny Gill and the Coast's own Serena Brooke.
Brooke, who was a two-time world title runner-up, enjoyed a fabulous professional career and was for a long time one of the most marketable faces on the women's world tour.
Burridge ans Gill were both world title holders as well as winner numerous Australian crowns.
They will be joined by two of the spiritual elders of surfing in Queensland Gail Austen and former Coast shark patrol operator Kim McKenzie who Day credits as the standard bearer for the sport here.
Ms McKenzie established her credentials in taking her surfing skills to the big wave testing grounds of Oahu's north shore and remains much-loved and respected both in the water as a surfer and on it for her sea knowledge as a skipper.
The late Ma Bendall of Caloundra was another indifferent to any view that a woman's place was on the beach.
The Australia Women's Surfing Reunion is a social event bringing together, for the first time, the first and second generations of competitive women's surfing in Australia celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1976 formation of the Australian Women's Surfing Association.
Plans to hold an Expression session of world, Australian and state champions on Saturday have been put on hold for Sunday because of expected wild weather and onshore north easterlies.
Ms Day said it was hoped an expected east coast low would pass through Saturday night making for offshore conditions for the Sunday.
"We're all in our 50s and carrying injuries so if it's six foot it will narrow the field,'' she said.
SATURDAY: 5pm - 10pm: REUNION PARTY at "The Beach Bar", Coolum Beach Hotel. The function will include acknowledgment of the first generation of competitive women's surfing, memories and anecdotes from those in attendance, and a slide show of a large collection of photos from the 70's and 80's.
SUNDAY: Morning expression session if conditions suit.