I’m a woman, hear me roar!

With International Cleavage Day round the corner (next Monday!), we at Surf Europe figured it’d be a good time to turn our thoughts to sex in women’s surfing. After all, everyone already knows the girls are ripping. But what about all the sex? So much of it! Is it good? Is it bad? Such a touchy subject!

While some reckon sex has helped raise the profile of women’s surfing and subsequently performance levels too, others think its higher performance levels that have raised the profile of sex… So complicated! Could the two be linked?

With that in mind, here’s a quick look back at some of those female athletes who have at some point flirted for the cameras.

Wendy Botha

Age: 48 years old
From: East London, South Africa

Not everyone will remember Wendy Botha, in part because the four-time women’s surf champ career dates back to the ’80s and in part because literally no one cared about women’s surfing back then. Not one soul. But in 1992, with 3 world titles under her belt and on the way to her fourth, the South African athletic blond arguably pulled off surfing’s greatest PR stunt!

Frustrated at the lack of love from the surf industry and mainstream media, the reigning world champ posed nude for Playboy magazine. Driving the surfing world into a frenzy of mixed emotions, it became the magazine’s first sell-out ever.

For those that don’t remember, let’s take a minute to put Botha’s outrageous act into context. Born and raised in South Africa, Wendy Botha grew up surfing the sharky waters of East London. In spite of her slight stature, she built a reputation for powerful moves and had no qualms charging the likes of Sunset. As one of surfing’s original tomboys, she repeatedly claimed she could surf as good as a lot of the guys on tour despite them telling her otherwise. But it was the year she moved to Australia, in 1989, that Wendy Botha achieved unprecedented competitive success, claiming an astounding seven events in one year (a record that still stands today) and her second world title. Having adopted Australian citizenship in the process (to avoid travel restrictions from South Africa’s apartheid era), she also became Australia’s first female champion that year. Yet still no love!

As for the reaction at the time, the stunt is reported to have shocked most females but rather predictably delighted the males. Botha herself is quoted as saying, “The girls on tour were all a little shocked. The guys all think its unreal!” And having made her statement, she retired one year later.


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