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Monica Guo Monica Guo

CURL POWER: INSIDE THE FEMALE-LED SURF REVOLUTION.

01 November 2020 - Events

It takes a brave woman to drop everything to become a surfer — especially in China, where the sport has been virtual-ly non-existent until recent years. Imagine being a girl from the Guangxi mountains, miles from the coast… Monica Guo, who currently holds the title of Women’s Longboard Surfing Champion and has competed as part of the Chinese National Surfing Team, had never seen the ocean growing up. 
But from the moment she first stood on a board in Hong Kong, she knew she was home.

Monica Guo

MEET CHINA’S FIRST GENERATION FEMALE PRO SURFER

It takes a brave woman to drop everything to become a surfer — especially in China, where the sport has been virtual-ly non-existent until recent years. Imagine being a girl from the Guangxi mountains, miles from the coast… Monica Guo, who currently holds the title of Women’s Longboard Surfing Champion and has competed as part of the Chinese National Surfing Team, had never seen the ocean growing up. 
But from the moment she first stood on a board in Hong Kong, she knew she was home.

Leaving behind her family, her career, and the comforts of the city, she moved south to Hainan Island, home to the Chinese St-Tropez: Sanya. Monica’s story echoes Vilebrequin’s back in the early 70s, when a young man set off for the French Riviera, with nothing but dreams in his jean pocket. Inspired by the board shorts worn by California surfers, he pioneered the very first swim short for guys… and surfer girls in China!

 

 

 

Flying in the face of tradition, Monica set her sights on mastering the art of longboarding — not the easiest challenge! Longboards are bigger, heavier, and more dangerous than classic surfboards. Within 2 years, she had won her first title, placing first in the largest national surfing contest. Her tide had just started rising.
Picked to represent her country at the 2018 ISA World Championship, she became the first Chinese surfer to win a heat. Surfing has since been recognized as an Olympic Sport in China. Way to Guo, Monica!

With increased funding and acceptance from the government, Monica is more focused than ever on ensuring young women get their turn on the board. Her female-only summer surf camp encourages young girls from all across China to ride the waves, and — most importantly — to dream big.

Want more sea, surf & bikini life? 
Catch Monica Guo on Instagram: @monicaqie

Monica Guo
Bethany Hamilton

GET OUT OF MY WAVES!
THE WOMEN SHAPING SURF HISTORY 

Bethany Hamilton - USA - @bethanyhamilton

Her motto: “I don’t need easy, I just need possible.”

Why we love her: Nothing could extinguish her love of surfing — not even a shark attack when she was only 13. De-spite losing an arm, she was back on her board just one month later…! 

More on Bethany: Watch her 2019 documentary, Unstoppable  to learn about her journey.

 

 

 

Stephanie Gilmore - Australia - @stephaniegilmore

Her motto: “You can win a world title, but you’re never going to beat the ocean.”

Why we love her: This seven-time world champion began surfing at the age of ten. When she’s not on the board, she’s on the board… of a non-profit for marine conversation! Visit: seashepherd.org

More on Stephanie: In The Water Dancer docuseries, she explores how dancing and surfing intersect.

Stephanie Gilmore
Maya Gabeira

Maya Gabeira - Brazil - @maya

Her motto: “Enjoy life, even when you’re broken and in pain.”

Why we love her: An almost fatal surfing accident wasn’t going to stop this six-time world champion from achieving her goal: setting the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman: 22.4m!

More on Maya: Read your kids Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, starring Maya, Malala & Michelle Obama…!

 

 

 

 

Emmanuelle & Uhaina Joly - France - 
@emmanuellejoly
@uhaina_joly

Their motto: “Like surfer, like daughter.”

Why we love them: Born in the Summer of 1971 (an excellent vintage!), Emmanuelle is a 4-time French champion with 6 European titles. She kept surfing even at 7.5 months pregnant, and was back in the ocean 2 weeks after giving birth. No wonder her daughter Uhaina is a water baby (and pro surfer!).

More on Emmanuelle & Uhaina: Take a surf class on France’s West Coast with Emmanuelle as your coach!

Emmanuelle et Uhaina Joly
Ishita Malaviya

Ishita Malaviya - India - @surfishita

 

Her motto: “The ocean was a source of income for locals. I want to make it a source of joy.”

Why we love her: India’s first female pro surfer actively promotes South India as ‘the new place to surf’. Her work to increase gender equality and end drowning accidents earned her a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia.

More on Ishita: Watch the documentary Beyond The Surface and follow her around Southern India as she explores how surf, yoga, and spirituality are fueling change in local communities. 

Surfin’ St-Tropez

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