128: Lauren Hill/Story Is A Choice

Lauren Hill, Byron Bay, July 2020. Photo: Owen Tozer

It’s easy to forget, but all stories are editorial choices. And those choices have a big influence on the way we collectively perceive our shared culture and history.

It’s why the standard narratives around our shared history tend to default to the same names and anecdotes. And it’s why She Surf, the new overview of modern female surfing and surf history by Lauren Hill, is such a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Lauren. Photo: Owen

Throughout her career as a surfer, writer and podcaster, Lauren has used her experiences and wider interests to tackle big, important themes in a graceful and accessible way.

She Surf – a considered, inclusive, beautifully put together piece of work – is the culmination of that lifelong quest, providing the most comprehensive and alternative view of modern and historical female surf culture yet.

Photo: Owen

The book was also the launchpad into a wide-ranging, omnivorous conversation that took in the importance of play, the toxic effects of female objectification on both men and women, the legacy of the male gaze in surf culture, and many more topics that don’t get an airing too often. And, of course, we also took a long look at Lauren’s own life and career.

Very much enjoyed this one. Thanks for coming on the show Lauren! Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Lauren

Show Notes

  • Covid-19 in Australia
  • Australia’s recent ecological history
  • Growing up in Florida
  • Moving to Australia
  • How her studies in Environmental Science impacted the way Lauren looks at surfing
  • The intersection of feminism and the environment
  • Surfing as a woman in Florida
  • Succeeding in bad waves
  • Why Lauren chose longboards
  • Exploring gender in surfing
  • Finding sponsors after college
  • Writing and filming women’s surfing movies
  • Inclusivity in Lauren’s works
  • The role of women in surf culture
  • Being ‘othered
  • “Is that too far or that not far enough?”
  • Change in the diversity of boards in surfing
  • How women’s surf brands are moving backward
  • The impact of social media on female surfing
  • Critiquing the system and not the surfers
  • The WSL decision
  • Why there’s no point comparing male and female surfing
  • She Surf
  • How support for women’s surfing died down after the impact of the movie Blue Crush
  • The lineage of inclusivity in surfing
  • The history of surfing is told from the perspective of men
  • So many stories of surfing haven’t been told
  • Black Lives Matter movement
  • The importance of play
  • “The retention of childlike characteristics makes us the most evolved”
  • Being in the moment

People Mentioned

Places Mentioned

  • Byron Bay
  • Florida

Companies/Brands/Media Mentioned