Ever wondered who is working tirelessly behind the scenes of the global surf industry? Who works for the big brands, the little ones, the surf coaches, the web designers the marketing managers? Who designs the wetsuits and surf tee’s and runs the shops that sell them? Who looks after the athletes and holds chairs among boards of directors? Who are the women taking on the roles that have been held by men for so many years? Here are just a small handful of women, or shall we say ‘Boss Ladies’ of the surfing industry.
A big thanks to all the women around the world that are helping our sport and grow and flourish. We’ve heard the saying ‘surfing is a male dominated sport‘ over the years… Well, here are some women that are changing that. This is Girl Surf Network‘s five part feature on Boss Ladies of the Surf Industry.
A short bio just doesn’t cut it for Layne Beachley. 7 x World Champion and still the most successful female surfer of all time. Over her competitive surfing career Layne racked up a number of accolades and world-wide recognition. In 2006 Layne was inducted into the Australian and US Surfing Hall of Fame. Since retiring from competitive surfing in 2008, Layne has continued to work tirelessly in a variety of sports at the grass-roots level through to major organisations and governing bodies. Layne is the current Chairperson of the Surfing Australia Board of Directors and is an Officer of the Order of Australia. She is a highly respected and sought-after keynote speaker providing inspirational presentations, workshops and leadership programs around the world. Oh and if that’s not boss lady enough, Layne is also the Founder and Director of the highly respected Aim for the Stars Foundation which provides support to females around Australia with mentorship, funding and scholarship programs.
Brooke Farris has worked tirelessly over the years in a variety of roles in the surfing industry and has been paving the way for other women in the industry. Recent roles include International Events and Girls Team Manager for Rip Curl, Marketing Manager for Rip Curl and General Manager Digital for Rip Curl. Prior to that, Brooke was a longstanding board member for Layne Beachley’s Aim for the Stars Foundation and Women’s Tour Manager for the World Surf League, formerly Association of Surfing Professionals. Brooke has been an excellent mentor for young surfers and females in general.
Where to start with Holly Monkman. This former professional surfer, turned ASP judge and commentator has worked in a large variety of roles in the surf industry ranging from regional sales rep for Creatures of Leisure and Otis Eyewear. She then moved to Los Angeles to work for Globe managing their newly established female surf and skate team. Following a move back to the Gold Coast, Holly took on the role of Marketing Manager for Electric Eyewear for a number of years. In 2010 Holly moved to Sydney to work for Surfing World magazine and Coastal Watch as their Marketing Manager. In 2011 Holly moved to Bali for Quiksilver as the South East Asia Marketing Executive and later became the Global Roxy Sports marketing manager, a position she still holds to this day.
Former professional surfer, the much loved Jesse Miley-Dyer is now the World Surf League Women’s Commissioner making all the big decisions for the women on tour. She is tasked with rebuilding the sport and creating a stable platform for the women to compete and showcase on the world stage. Miley-Dyer has a strong professional surfing career herself, finishing her rookie year in 2006 with a world ranking of #4 on the women’s World Championship Tour. She finished her rookie season by winning the Billabong Pro Maui, beating World Champion Layne Beachley in December 2006. Miley-Dyer also became the inaugural Billabong World Junior Women’s Champion and was named the Rookie of the Year of the Association of Surfing Professionals for 2006.
In the twelve years of her professional surfing career, Sally Fitzgibbons has already won nine ASP/WSL World Tour events and three runner-up finishes to the world title (’10, ’11, ’12). She has racked up numerous accolades over her competitive surfing career and is still charging on the WSL Women’s World Tour in 2016. Outside of surfing Sally is a determined businesswoman, forming her own company Fitzgibbons International which is responsible for the newest Women’s 6,000 event on the WSL World Qualifying Series, the Sydney International in November, 2016. Sally has also launched the Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation where she continues to promote healthy living, nutrition and a positive body image for females. Sally put pen to paper with her first book Live Like Sally in 2015 and is set to launch a Train like Sally app for iOS and Android in 2017.
Kim Eulenstein. Founder – Girl Surf Network established in 2012, continues to be one of the largest womens surf platforms in the world. Since it’s establishment in 2012, GSN has been an unbiased hub for female surfers of any age, skill level and location. The Network continues to inspire, motivate and create opportunities for females in various roles. Kim also established the largest women’s focused sports management & marketing agency in the country and looks after some of Australia’s highest profile surfers, snow athletes and a range of female sporting stars. She has over ten years experience across various sporting organisations and global swimwear manufacturing companies. More recently Kim has been involved in major brand partnerships, social strategy, marketing, event management, advertising, public relations and communications all within the sporting and related corporate arenas. She has also published a womens specific surf book The Love of Surf featuring the likes of Layne Beachley, Sally Fitzgibbons & Stephanie Gilmore. Kim is a dedicated advocate for women in sport and mentor to up-and-coming female athletes.
Louise Searle. Editor SurfGirl Magazine, Director and Part Owner of Orca Publications Limited. Louise has been working in print media since the ’90’s. She started off co-publishing ThreeSixty Magazine a bodyboard mag, then played a major role in setting up Carve Surfing Magazine. Louise noticed the lack of female representation in traditional surfing magazines and set out to create the now all female mega-mag, SurfGirl. The office is based out of Cornwall in the United Kingdom and is a relatively small team. Louise credits brands such as Rip Curl, Roxy, Billabong and O’Neill for their support in the magazine and women’s surfing in general. From the success of the magazine, Louise (and team) were then able to fund the global online SurfGirl Beach Boutique store stocking a range of surf hardware, fashion and their own surfboard brand ‘Serra Surfboards’ selling into a number of countries around the world. SurfGirl is still one of, if not the most successful women’s surf mag of all time.
Hailing from the United Kingdom, this self-proclaimed techie Sarah O’Brien is the E-Commerce Digital Performance Specialist at Billabong head quarters on the Gold Coast. Sarah studied Computer Science at Exeter University and made the move over to Australia with the dream of surfing daily and working in the surf industry. Sarah is responsible for managing the performance team to deliver exceptional digital content, campaigns and projects for all GSM branded websites and marketing initiatives. Billabong, VonZipper, Tigerlily, RVCA, Element, Amazon, Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski and Kustom are just some of the brands Sarah works on.
This is only Part 1 of Girl Surf Network’s feature on Boss Ladies. Do you know a female working tirelessly in the world of surfing? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear about them! Stay tuned for Part 2 featuring the likes of Laura Underwood, Stephanie Hendrickson and Amanda Couzner to name just a few.