Mason Schremer at First Point, Noosa - Photographed by Fenna de King
There is a new beat in surfing. It is quiet, soothing and beautiful to experience. It is a new attitude in the water of friendliness and comradery and a new style of flow and grace. It is the new wave of female surfers and their impact on surfing culture. The new beat was first noticed at the Noosa Festival of Surfing when, in 2018, the girls under 18 division stole the show. The judges, competitors and onlookers were caught off guard. The standard flashy, exaggerated contest surfing style was bettered by the young girl’s amazing refinement, positioning, and understated critical noserides. Furthermore, the girls cheered each other on and were best mates out of the water. Over the next year the girls often traveled with each other and there was a sense that the surfing community was cheering them on. Soon many of them reached stardom on social media with hundreds of thousands of followers. The 2019 Noosa Festival of Surfing saw another quantum leap in the girls surfing with 17-year-old Avalon (Gow) getting the best hang ten of the contest. The girls are dancing to their own new beat and many of us are joining in.
Today I was surfing Tea Tree. It was waist-high, onshore, bumpy and far from epic, however the mood in the water was as positive as ever. My smiles were returned, and some hoots were heard. Then I noticed that I was one of the few male surfers in the water. There were girls of all ages out there. It seemed the new beat of the Noosa Festival had evolved a new genre of surfing which is inviting to girls. It is not a sport, but a community. And I am in too. I like the new beat! It is not a competition where he who gets the most waves wins. It is not to overcome the wave but to find a connection with it, the ocean and fellow surfers.
The young girl surfers like Mason Schremer, Emily Lethbridge, Honolua Bloomfield, Cloe Calmon and many others have brought in the new beat, but their influence is far from over. They have started a very quiet revolution that is sweeping the world. In 2017 there was the first female surfer from Korea in the Noosa Festival. Last year there were seven, and this year there are many more. Similar changes are happening all over the world.
I believe this is the best time in surfing. These are the good old days. Noosa Longboards invites you to hop on board and dance to the new beat!
- Dr. Tom Wegener, PhD Surf Culture