Seriously fun, but where are the girls?

Julian Wilson’s inaugural Serious Fun weekend on the Sunshine Coast was a great weekend for all the groms involved, but it was also a missed opportunity…

The two day event, supported by a host of Julian’s sponsors including Hurley, Oakley, FCS, Catch Surf and Sun Bum, was designed to remind kids that surfing is all about having fun – even if you’re on the pathway to becoming a professional athlete.

serious funDay 1 was a free event for groms between 6 and 13 where they could surf, skate, play putt putt golf, get a hair cut, have their boards spray painted or just chill out and eat free açai, all while hanging with the handful of pros and ex-pros that were wandering around the event site. Both my kids could barely stop talking about how much fun they had in the car on the way home but were asleep by 6pm. That they both had serious fun is no argument from them or me.

Day 2 was an invite only surf comp. The promotional materials sent out said that:

Serious Fun Day 2 (Sunday 11th FEB) will showcase 12 of Australia’s very best U/18 surfers, personally invited by Julian. They will compete in a WCT like event & battle it out at where it all started for Julian, Coolum.

It was an excellent concept. The winner would get to go on a trip with Julian later in the year to be a part in one of his movie projects. They would also get a section of footage professionally put together for an Oakley Battle Of The Clips entry. For any surfer, this could quite potentially be the launching point for their professional career. For an event, it’s unlike anything else. The hugely disappointing thing is that, of Julian’s chosen 12 – you know, the best Australia has to offer – only one was a girl.

In a demographic that arguably has more girls than boys (but distinctly less professional pathway for the girls), it’s depressing to see more of the same from a event that could have been a game changer.

“I hope this event creates a good opportunity to get behind the talent that’s coming through from Australia and give them a bit of a head start into the next chapter.” said Julian in the lead-up to the event.

Sure, but what about the female talent that’s coming through? What about those girls who want a head start so that they can actually be a pro-surfer rather than a surfer/model?

It’s easy to argue that the girls aren’t as good as the boys. Until we provide the same pathways for them to progress then how can they be?

The Serious Fun weekend was seriously good fun, it’s just a shame that more girls didn’t have the opportunity to experience the fun too. Hopefully the event will run again in 2019 and get behind all the new breed of surfing talent.