I just returned from Brazil Ecojourney’s GaySurfBrazil 2016 and can’t say enough great things about the trip. Marta and Lesley did a phenomenal job of bringing together surfers from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Argentina and Brazil and making everyone feel more than at home. Whether a beginning or experienced surfer, the surf camp gave all of us what we needed to feel more confident in the water, to brush up on our skills, and to excel. Florianopolis was amazing – one of the most beautiful and friendly cosmopolitan islands I have ever visited – a perfect way to begin the trip. The surfing in Rosa was pretty phenomenal, and because the waves were not dependent on the tides, surfers were in the water pretty much all day long! and the scenery was nothing short of breathtaking. Most importantly, everyone truly enjoyed each other’s company and long-lasting friendships were made. I can’t think of a better way to spend a vacation. My only regret – getting on that plane to head back to LA. This is one surfer who will definitely be back next year. Obrigado, Marta and Lesley.
From the moment sweet Keala Kennelly rolled into the parking lot at the Grove in Anaheim it was clear she wasn’t there to fuck around. Arm in arm with her girlfriend, they were surrounded by an intimidating, yet intriguing entourage of women. They cut an obvious contrast to the trendy, surfy crowd at the 2016 Big Wave Awards.
They blitzed their way through check-in. Flashbulbs burst when they hit the red carpet. They then commandeered a small corner of a small bar in a small VIP room and waited for the show to begin.
Last night was all about the ladies, Ms Kennelly, making huge steps and backing it up with confidence.
Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same, and Keala, Shane Dorian and Greg Long came away the big winners—which if you’ve been paying attention the last 10 years should sound pretty familiar. They’ve all given their fair share of acceptance speeches over the years.
Greg is the articulate lecturer. Shane is usually brief and speaks from the heart. Keala, well, lets just say has always enjoyed her time on the mic and this year she absolutely reveled in it. Wrapped in black leather, she was far and away the most colorful character at the show…and had the most to say. Winning Best Barrel honors thanks to her dark cavern at Teahupoo, in doing so Keala is the first woman to win an “open gender” category.
There’s good reason Greg Long attributes some of his time to motivational speaking, when he opens his lips, everyone listens.
“This is for all those people that told me I couldn’t do it…that a woman couldn’t do it,” she said backstage, reiterating what she’d just told the standing-room-only crowd.
It’s not a stretch to say that Keala’s done more to advance women’s performances in big-wave surfing than anyone else. She pioneered charging Chopes and paddling Jaws and Oahu’s Outer Reefs. She deserves the recognition and the platform that comes with it. She probably should have won the Women’s Best Overall Performance Award, which ended up going to Andrea Moller.
But before things could get too warm and fuzzy, onto the stage stepped the legendary Greg Noll.
“They told me to behave myself,” he said before launching into a lengthy joke about eating pussy and choking on a hairball. It was a much-needed yin to Keala’s yang. The webcast booth had to be freaking out.
“So guys, now you know what you have to do,” surmised Da Bull, who may or may not have been making a subtle nod to Keala’s camp.
Greg “Da Bull” Noll and Niccolo Porcella, two mad men from differing generations.
Either way, the house lost their shit. Hilarity ensured.
After the awards had wrapped Foo Fighter’s side project, Chevy Metal, struck up the tunes and party raged late into the Orange County night.
Over the years the Big Wave Awards has become increasingly more commodified and hence more watered down. The first year the awards were held Flea sparked up a joint in the audience while sitting next to Jay Moriarity and Greg Noll. Classic! Then there were a couple years where fights broke out. Again, classic! And there was that one year that Christian Fletcher called German Sebastian Steudtner a Nazi while announcing his award for Biggest Wave (“And the winner is…the German who doesn’t paddle.”) And while the Big Wave Awards and big-wave surfing as a whole has become a large, commercial marketing vehicle, thanks to salts like Keala Kennelly and Greg Noll we can still let it all hang out every once in awhile.
Shane-O’s a household name in the Big Wave Awards, and the cat’s going nowhere soon. With two nominations for Ride of the Year, he was bound to come home with some cheddar.
Billabong Ride of the Year: Shane Dorian
Videographer: Dan Norkunas
Paddle Award: Aaron Gold
Photographer: Brent Broza
TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award: Yuri Soledade
Photographer: Jimmie Hepp
Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award: Keala Kennelly
Photographer: Tim McKenna
TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Award: Niccolo Porcella
Videographer: Tim Pruvost
Surfline Men’s Overall Performance Award: Shane Dorian
Women’s Best Overall Performance Award: Andrea Moller
WSL BWT Champion: Greg Long
Article published by StabMag]]>
Team Sydney aims to promote and encourage participation in sport and sporting events and foster a healthy lifestyle.
Sports and international sporting events have the ability to unite people around the world. However, homophobia and transphobia are still present within many sporting communities and especially in amateur sport in both education and leisure. This must change.
To Register go to www.teamsydney.org.au/ctg
Our Response: Change The Game Conference
The Out in the Fields survey in 2014 showed that 80% of those surveyed had experienced some form of homophobic abuse.
Theme: Combating Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport
When: Saturday, 7 May 2016 (all-day event, food and drinks provided throughout the day)
Where: 99ONYORK, 95-99 York Street, Sydney (formerly ‘Bowler’s Club of NSW’)
Who: School principals and teachers, school counsellors, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, sporting clubs, parents, administrators, IEU, tertiary educators (particularly in the fields of psychology, sports management and teaching), sports participants, fitness centres.
Why: To focus on current research and practice in areas relating to the promotion of, and safe participation in, all kinds of sport, exercise and physical activity. The Change The Game Conference will provide an interactive, educational forum, promoting a healthy lifestyle with inclusivity in sport. The theme will be managing homophobia and transphobia in sport to allow athletes to participate in an unrestricted and safe way, leveraging from the work done by Come Out To Play, Out On The Fields, Play by the Rules and Sports Without Borders.
Team Sydney’s Change The Game Conference aims to provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. Our goal is to prevent alienation, bullying and the often resulting self-destructive acts. It is common for young people to feel isolated simply for being themselves.
It may be hard to change habits or to change people’s language, but it is possible.
Focus on current research and practice in areas relating to the promotion of, and safe participation in, all kinds of amateur sport, exercise and physical activity.
Provide an interactive, educational forum, promoting a healthy lifestyle with inclusivity in sport
Provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change
To Register go to www.teamsydney.org.au/ctg]]>
It’s the Easter long weekend and that can only mean one thing: the world’s longest running surf competition at iconic Bell’s Beach must also be on.
If you watch closely, you will see the evergreen Australian surfer Joel Parkinson tearing it up with a rainbow leg rope strapped to his ankle.
That’s his way of supporting the anti-homophobia campaign Knot Me Project.
The leash has been made by Dakine, and is almost a throwback to the look of surf gear from the 1980s.
“It started as a conversation with Searley [manager Michael Searle, then turned into an idea and then became what it is now,” Parko told us. “I support equal rights. I’m a happily married man with three kids, and I thought it was a good thing to support because it’s something I truly believe in.
“The actual leash is really good, too. I hope it creates awareness about the issue of homophobia in sport. As long as everyone is getting along, it shouldn’t matter. Surfing is a very open sport.”
Parkinson has rung the bell at Bell’s three times, in 2004, 2009 and 2011. At the age of 34, having joined the world tour in 2001, you’d think he would start slowing up.
But he says he has a renewed hunger as this year’s World Surf League cranks up.
“I was disinterested in some events last year and I didn’t feel like being there,” he admits. “This year, I am a lot hungrier. The run of good surf in the last couple of weeks has made me fall in love with surfing again.”
He’s also got a strong social conscience, too.
The Rainbow Leash is part of his “Legacy Projects” initiative, which started at Snapper Rocks last weekend with the inaugural Indigenous Surfing concept to drive indigenous surfing participation.
The float included ‘No Way TPPA’, GaySurfers.net and Radical Faerie NZ banners, while DJ Chris Rayner played what many spectators rated as the best sounds in the parade. The organizers thank the Yot Club for their support and the use of their sound system.
The parade itself was a colourful celebration of 30 years since law reform and the de-criminalization of homosexuality with some 1500 parade participants and 30,000 spectators gathering under the theme of Stories, Myths and Legends (Kõrero Tara).
No Way TPPA signs reinforced the accelerating tide of refusal to accept the ‘Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement’ which will allow foreign corporations to sue the NZ government for any hinderance to their profits, and mirrored the enormous protest which blocked Aucklands city centre on Thrusday the 4th of February. In the days prior TV news covered John Key being ‘glitter bombed’ at the ‘Big Gay Out’, but failed to capture the ferocious audience of thousands disapproval who shouted him down from the stage before he managed to mumble a word.
The GaySurfers.net banner followed the NZ premiere of the international surf award winning documentary ‘Out in the Lineup‘, which screened during the University of Waikato’s ‘Surfing Social : Challenging Identities and Spaces’ conference which ran from the 10-12th of February at Solscape. The documentary is now available here.
Radical Faerie represents a global community of nature identified folk who celebrate the role queer people played in traditional societies, and seek to remember queer people’s place in a healthy human ecologies relationship to the natural world.
The parade itself was delayed by a protest from ‘No Pride in Prisons’ against the presence of the Police Force in the parade, and the Department of Corrections due to the treatment of transgendered people in prisons.
Photographer and film-maker Romain Terrasson has completed this years film, to see a mix of these moments search YouTube for ‘Raglan Pride Parade’.
The video is here:
Stoked that so many Raglan crew came to support the New Zealand premiere of Out in the Lineup. Thanks to Solscape and The University of Waikato for hosting.
I’m at a place in my life right now that would have made me panic just a couple of years ago. Shit, if someone even mentioned the word “gay’’ around me, I would go red in the face and start to sweat. I don’t know how I got here, but I’m very happy that I did.
So I want to tell you something. Something that’s a little part of me. Something that you might not agree with and might make you think “what does this even have to do with surfing?” The truth is, it probably has nothing to do with surfing. But I do know my teenage years would have been a lot easier if I could read about a pro surfer who also battled the same demons I struggled with. That alone might have softened the blow. Maybe if I’d been able to see just how gay people are accepted in the surf community, I wouldn’t have grown up to be the nervous wreck that I am today. I know these things would have made a huge difference to me as a kid, and I believe it can make a difference to the thousands out there today facing the same inner struggles.
Growing up surfing in Ireland couldn’t be any further away from the palm trees of Venice Beach or trunking it in Indo. Ireland is cold, dark, and it brings new meaning to the saying “freezing your nuts off.” We have a real tight knit community here. Everyone knows everyone and the surf scene is very much woolly jumpers, knitted hats and cups of tea. There is no localism in the water; the worst that’s going to happen is you’ll be dropped in on. Then that same guy that drops in on you will more than likely paddle back and apologise. All of which is to say there is a lot of respect for one another in these waters. Visiting surfers are usually welcomed with open arms and instantly accepted into the family. All of these things are really cool to see.
Growing up, I never accepted myself as being gay. I wanted to be the best but I thought that people would just end up hating me if they ever found out –- especially here in Ireland where everyone is so tight. I battled thoughts of suicide, telling myself I would have to kill myself if anybody ever found out I was gay. I remember a couple of instances some people nearly found out and I thought to myself “well this is the end of me, there’s no room for gay surfers.” I would Google search gay professional surfers but never found any. Sure, there was the odd gay sportsman here and there, but never a surfer -– never anything or anyone that I could relate to. That only added to my feelings of loneliness and the belief that I was the only person going through this. Feeling like the only person on earth sucked. No matter how many contests I won or how many days of good waves that I got, nothing changed this feeling. I just wanted to be liked for being me, but I could never imagine my life where people would know that I’m gay and accept me.
I have a very loving accepting mother who owns the local surf shop, but I could only imagine her disappointment when finding out her son was a “fag.” I went to numerous therapists as a kid and was even too scared to tell any of them about the secret I was hiding.
So what changed?
Things instantly felt better when I finished school. I didn’t have to act like the tough guy just to hide behind the truth. That alone made people associate with me more. Then I was offered a part in the documentary OUT in the Lineup, something I assumed in absolutely no way would I be part of. But after thinking it over for a couple of months I realized if I was going to come out, there was probably no better way to do it. Foolishly, I thought it would never be screened in Ireland so I would’t have to worry about anyone I know seeing it.
I was traveling through New Zealand with a bunch of childhood friends when the film was shown at a festival back home in Ireland. I panicked. I was surprised, though, when I started getting emails and messages from people I’d looked up to. There were messages from surfers in Ireland, congratulating me and reassuring me that it wasn’t a big deal. I came out to my friends that I was traveling with, and they too could not have been happier for me. The final step was just to bite the bullet and come out publicly to everyone that I knew, so I posted it on my Facebook. I was doing something that I could never imagine: I was finally out. To my absolute shock, nobody cared about my sexuality (in the negative way I had feared, that is). They supported me and showed me love. Sure, it might have been a big deal for me, but I learned it wasn’t a big deal for anyone else because it didn’t impact their life. The day that I came out healed a lot of scars from the years I spent alone, hating myself for who I love. My mother wasn’t disappointed with me, her surf shop didn’t fail because of my sexuality, and she couldn’t have been happier for me.
I think that the presence of the LGBTQ community in surfing is something that should be acknowledged more. You don’t need to paint a rainbow on your board, but at least keep some negative opinions to yourself. As a teen, I remember coming across a thread about homosexuality in surfing online. I remember reading the homophobic comments on it and I remember just feeling sick and thinking to myself “wow, this is what my life is going to be like.”
So now I’m currently working to qualify for the World Longboard Tour. I want to be the first openly gay surfer on the World Tour. This dream has nothing to do with my sexuality, it’s something that I’ve wanted for years. I have a big love for competition. I won my first national title at the age of 13. I have won six more since then. I am the current national champion and plan to reclaim that title for 2016. I recently turned pro after picking up sponsorship from O’Neill. So today, after all this, I want to be a voice for everyone in our sport that suffers in silence. I want people to know they don’t have to go through it alone and that there are plenty of surfers struggling with the same problems. I know if I’d come across this same essay when I was a grom, it would have given me comfort. I know having a gay role model in surfing could be a big support for a lot of people. So I’m here to say I want to be that role model. I want to be that person because I know how shitty it is to grow up as a gay surfer and think there’s no one to look up to, nobody sitting in the same boat as you, nobody who went through the same turmoil.]]>
The University of Waikato is organising on 10-12 February a conference called Surfing Social: Challenging surfer identities and spaces.
A screening of the film “OUT in the line-up” will take place on the evening of Thursday Feb 11th at 7pm at Solscape, with a Q&A before or after.
I am trying to rally some GS members to attend the screening in RAGLAN + a surf session + drinks
Please use this space to say if you can help organize this meetup.
It is all very exciting. I am looking forward to meeting you all and surfing RAGLAN !!!
There will be another screening during the Auckland Pride Festival, in AUCKLAND on 13th February at 8:30pm
(+ Q&A with producer)
44 Lorne St
Outsports interviews pro who feared people would stereotype him
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 December, 2015 – Since “Out in the Lineup”, the documentary about gay and lesbian surfers, has travelled globally to a warm receptions at various film festivals, there has been more focus on the issue of surf culture and its acceptance, or lack thereof, of gay surfers.
The definitive online gay sporting journal Outsports took time to interview Out professional longboarder Craig Butler to find out about his experience coming out to the surf community. The following is a partial interview with Craig on Outsports.
Professional surfer Craig Butler came out publicly in a documentary film, Out In The Lineup, and everything has come up roses ever since. Not only have the reactions of his friends, family and fellow surfers been amazingly positive, but he reports he has since secured a sponsor in popular surfwear company O’Neill.
We caught up with Butler last week as he surfed the waves in Taiwan.
What were you afraid of before you came out on Facebook and in the movie?
I was afraid that people would think differently about me, that the Craig that people have known for years would no longer be and that the new me that they would learn to know about would ruin all of the respect and accomplishments I’ve achieved over the years.
I’ve tried so hard since I was a kid to be liked and to try to build a name for myself as a surfer. I thought that if people found out that I was gay that they would no longer want to be associated with me and would think of me as just another stereotype.
Did you get any negative reactions from surfers or anyone in the surfing world?
I was surprisingly shocked that I did not get a single negative reaction.
All the locals at home know that I’m gay, and they’re not afraid to give me some harmless playful stick about it in the water. I like it that way, as I’m usually the one to instigate it. As a mate of mine that I do a bit of traveling with for surf put it, “If someone stops liking you for being gay, then what kind of messages does that breath about that person?” That is very true. I can’t think of a single person who would want to hang around with a person who doesn’t like someone for being LGBT. I only found that out after I came out.
There’s a lot of love and equality in present-day Ireland. The dark days that our parents and grandparents grew up in are long gone. The Catholic Church no longer has a strong hold on everyone. People are no longer shamed and locked away in a closet. There was a landslide vote for same-sex marriage last spring In Ireland. Unfortunately I wasn’t at home to vote, but it was really cool to see people — surfers, non-surfers, young and old — going out and voting “Yes” and urging people to do the same. I think everyone was happy in some way that they could be a part of a better future.
What was the best reaction you got?
The best reaction that I got was singly one of the most memorable moments of my life. It happened earlier this year while traveling in New Zealand with a group of childhood friends.
At the time there were only three of us. The other two lads are big into their women. One of my mates has known that I am gay since school, and my other mate I’ve gone to great lengths to hide to him the fact that I’m gay. He’s a really good guy, but I just thought that because we had such a great friendship and that we spend a lot of time traveling and camping together on surf trips that he would no longer want to be a part of that and try to distance himself.