Ripping it up.

Ripping it up.

Riptide mag, spawned in 1989 by Morrison media on the Gold Coast, was editorially somewhat juvenile for much of its early existence, in line with its then target demographic of barely post- pubescent boogin’ groms.

As its readership matured, so did its content. When the world ticked past the year 2000 C.E.  thoughtful articles and insightful interviews became its standard fare before the great publishing collapse put it to sleep in the early 10’s.

And so it lay slumbering, inert and inactive until earlier this year when a couple of crypto kids reached into their digital wallets and declared ” Boogen” to be back and the Riptide rival was on.

Funneling a ” Yer the Boyz” good time energy, the new Rippies appears ready to harken back to its prospective readers  halcyon days in both content and tone.

As a nod to its newly minted nihilistic image, it seems the idea of coughed up $390 for a video message from male porn star Johnny Sins through celebrity content website “Cameo” was green lighted as a witty and wacky way of promoting an upcoming film release funded by the website.

Mr Sins, real name Steven Wolfe, once had the top trending YouTube video in Turkey  simply featured him eating  snacks straight out of a box (unbelievably, not a euphemism). He’s also featured in a lot of porn films.

On the surface, the selection of the star of  “10 man cum slam” “Daddy it hurts II” and “Can she take it?”  is seemingly a strange choice to ask to speak about a bunch of mid-twenty male, West Australian based Bodyboarders. Unless one factors in the target audience the Rippies boys were trying to titillate with his appearance.

In said video message, Mr Sins encouraged the riders to, quote;

Rip up the waves like I rip up pussy”.

Innocuous?  Salacious? Problematic?

Sophie Hellyer, U.K. based surfer, cold water swimmer and podcaster certainly believed the later. She posted a 30 second Reel to her 44k Instagram followers decrying the link between the use of such violent language directed at womens reproductive parts and wave riding. Hellyer also detailed the shockingly high incidences of violence  directed at women in porn films, and how the normalisation and emulation of sexual violence on screen leads to the further perpetuation of violence onto women in the real world.

Sophie’s followers stormed the comment section of Riptide’s Johnny Sins post. Riptide responded by deleting it. Sophie in return received a stream of presumably nasty messages from butt hurt bodyboarders.

Now before we begin our a race to the bottom of victim hood with trite claims of ” They’re just words” and ” Everything is too PC these days”, (usually uttered  by shitty people who want to be able to say shitty things) let us acknowledge that  language and representation do matter.

Very much.

This is a truth that should be self evident to generations of boogers raised under the constant barrage of mocking monikers such as ” Dick dragger, speed bumps, cripples and on and on”. If you’ve experienced even a little of that humiliation, you’ll remember the shame and anger and resentment that simmers from being made to fell less than others through the use of words.

Perhaps you experienced the physical violence that was unleashed, often with no provacation, because violence towards bodyboarders had been normalised within surf culture thanks to words uttered in surf media.

You get it. Experiencing degredation and violence, even just a little, is scarring and life altering. Words beget actions which have consequences.

Participation rates in women’s sports has exploded exponentially this century. Within the surfing world, Women are taking to the waves like never before. The inclusive nature of the Longboarding / hipster movement offers women a sense of identity and feeling of belonging in the line up that they have flocked to.

In women’s shortboard surfing, the establishment of equal professional contest prize money, active promotion of star riders and an encouraging culture that supports female surfers has seen a generational shift in participation rates and performance levels.

Both pastimes are booming thanks to inclusion and participation of women.

Our wife’s and daughters sees Belinda Baggs gliding gracefully across the waves, or Caroline Marks belting out high performance turns. In bodyboarding they see a male porn star encouraging someone to rip up their pussy.

In the early 90’s, at the height of boogin’/ surfer war and adolescent appeal phase, Riptide put a shot of female booger Vicki Gleeson on the magazine cover, perhaps the first surfing publication anywhere to do do, certainly the first one in Bodyboarding.

In the wake of that shot came a generation of Aussie girls that included Kira Llewellyn, Mandy Zeiren, Lilly Pollard and others who lifted the profile of women’s bodyboarding in Australia higher. Women’s Bodyboarding remains a strong presence in Brazil, Japan and Hawaii because of established cultures of inclusiveness and representation.

Bodyboarding should be the most accessible and popular surfing pastime for women. The equipment is cheap, safe and easily transportable. It’s easy to learn the basics and caters to all ability levels.

We need to have a frank and honest discussion about how we showcase and represent Bodyboarding to potential female participants and what are the barriers to engagement. If we don’t, we’re doing all, both male and female, a serious disservice.

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