Tyler Wright turns off the bottom at Snapper Rocks. (Mike Batterham)
Tyler Wright turns off the bottom at Snapper Rocks. (Mike Batterham)

Icon slaps surfing’s bum problem

THE surfing world waded into the #metoo movement this week after it was revealed cinematographers at professional surfing events were told by the World Surf League to refrain from zooming in on female athletes' bottoms.

It was reported surfing officials had met on the Gold Coast during the Quiksilver Pro to discuss sexual harassment on tour, reminding employees of the rules and responsibilities required for the international operation.

"No inappropriate jokes. No leering at colleagues or competitors. Absolute gender equality in all parts of the operation," a report in STAB magazine stated before outlining the specific rules handed down to live photographers.

"A live broadcast means there's no time for editing so all camera operators need to use common sense when shooting. That means wide shots of any competitors in skimpy swimwear. Girls who surf in boardshorts will feature larger on screen than those in bikinis," it read.

Australian surfing icon Layne Beachley weighed in on the issue which sent the surfing world into a tither.

‘I respect the fact women can choose the bikinis they wish to surf in based on comfort or practicality.’
‘I respect the fact women can choose the bikinis they wish to surf in based on comfort or practicality.’

"I respect the fact women can choose the bikinis they wish to surf in based on comfort or practicality," the seven-time world champion said.

"It's up to them to choose how they want to present themselves.

"I think it's a step in the wrong direction as far as telling cameramen that they can't film girls duck-diving or doing bottom turns, because that's a natural part of surfing. I appreciate the "zooming in" part though, I don't think there's any need to zoom in on it."

Beachley noted that "bikinis have shrunk" since her time competing on tour.

"Sometimes the logos don't fit across the bottom anymore and they have to put the (sponsor's name) on different places," she said.

The 45-year-old also addressed surfing's "elephant in the room" which was brought to light amid the recent controversy.

Sally Fitzgibbons has become an Aussie icon.
Sally Fitzgibbons has become an Aussie icon.

"I've always been a proponent of 'sex sells', and that was a part of the generation that I came through, and we just struggled to get any attention and recognition, let alone sponsorships," she said.

"We've broken down those barriers and now the women are actually embracing there femininity, their beauty, their style, their grace and their sexiness. And if that's helping them sell the sport and improve their chances of being supported throughout their careers, then good luck to them.

"It's just making sure they do it for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons and are generating the right amount of attention because they're tremendous athletes, ambassadors and role models to the sport."

In a statement, the WSL said it "regularly trains its staff in code of conduct and employee enhancement programs. We hold our staff, content, and organisation to high standards across the board".



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