April 23rd 2014
After watching the women surf at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria over the weekend, one commentator was so impressed he called it one of the “best rounds of women’s surfing ever,” and offered Australian Sally Fitzgibbons the ultimate compliment in this male-dominated sport; she was as good as a bloke, “like [Kelly] Slater in his prime”.
Anyone who watches the sport closely already knows that the women who compete on surfing’s World Tour are incredibly talented and watchable athletes. The real news is that finally a group of people with money and clout have also realised how good the girls are and, most importantly, how unsustainable it is to support rampant gender discrimination in a professional sporting competition.
This year’s World Tour – of which Bells is the third event – is under new ownership after a private Californian company called ZoSea Media Holdings purchased the tour from the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). While the billionaire investors behind the company have said little publicly, their actions suggest they think sexism is bad business.