|Highest governing body||International Surfing Association|
|Mixed gender||Yes, separate competitions|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
|Olympic||Yes, as of the 2020 Olympics|
The earliest recorded incidence of women's surfing concerns the mythical Kelea. Kelea was born of royalty in Maui, it is believed she out-surfed riders of both genders. A few centuries later in the mid-late 1800s, Thrum’s Hawaiian Annual reported that women in ancient Hawaii surfed in equal numbers and frequently better than men. Women's surfing in Australia has a popular following amongst female participants.
Women’s surfing has increased in popularity over the last 50 years.
Surfing most likely started in New Guinea. It was a sport full of culture, fun, and adventure. Surfing was used to explore the oceans and to have fun becoming a part of nature. It spread from New Guinea to Hawaii. It is mostly known to be practiced in Hawaii and the surrounding islands, but it has spread to the rest of the continents. It was not widely accepted by Europeans because it took time away from working and labor, although they enjoyed the excitement of seeing the action of surfing.
The California Golden Girls played a huge part in the making Women’s surfing featured. They were pivotal in the 1970 to the 1980 to making people aware of the sport and they gave a face to the once widely known “Men’s Sport.”
In the United States, the most common places you will find women’s surfing would be California and Hawaii because they have the best conditions for surfing. Although you are able to surf in any place that has waves, surfing is mostly found all across the world from Peru, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, France, Philippines, Ecuador, and anywhere else that has a shore and waves coming in. Tide, time of day, storms miles off shore, and weather can all affect the strength of the waves.
Bethany Hamilton: She is an American surfer that despite getting attacked by a shark while surfing, and having her arm bitten off, she did not let that stop her from continuing her career as a surfer. She continued to get better and won many competitions following her attack.
“It's hard for me to describe the joy I felt after I stood up and rode wave in for the first time after the attack. I was incredibly thankful and happy inside. The tiny bit of doubt that would sometimes tell me you'll never surf again was gone in one wave.” –Bethany Hamilton
Marge Calhoun: She was a woman surfer who pioneered surfing in Hawaii. She is considered the first women surfing champion. She was indicted into the surfing hall of fame in 2003.
Stephanie Gilmore: “Fear - It's a fine line between that and pushing yourself. You definitely reach new heights when you push. But fear is good. Fear keeps us alive. If we didn't have it, we'd be doing crazy things and getting in sticky situations.” –Stephanie Gilmore.
Maya Gabeira is a big wave surfer who was born in Rio de Janeiro. She has five Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Award titles received from 2007–2010 and in 2012. She also won the 2009 ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sport Athlete.
Courtney Conlogue is a 25 year old American professional surfer. In an interview with ESPN she outlined what it takes to be a professional surfer. "I think some people perceive surfing as just a lifestyle sport. This will be my sixth year competing professionally on the World Tour, and to be involved in something like this goes to show that we do fine-tune our bodies in order to be as strong as we can when we enter the water. During the offseason, I train three to five days a week, and then I train every day in the water. Depending on the way the swell is -- because our sport is based on Mother Nature -- when the waves are good, I surf probably six hours a day."