Conference Online
Rebecca Olive

Dr Rebecca Olive
Lecturer, University of Queensland

Rebecca Olive researches recreational physical cultures and social media, with a focus on women and surfing. Taking a feminist cultural studies approach to power, ethics and pedagogy, she is interested in how we can influence cultural change in everyday lived physical cultures towards more diverse representation and participation. She has published in places including: International Journal of Cultural Studies, Sport, Education & Society; and Media International Australia, and has recently co-edited a book with Holly Thorpe, Women in Action Sport Cultures. She is a regular contributor to surf media and continues her blog, Making Friends With the Neighbours.

Presentation Title: Creating Sustainable Surfing Futures for All?
Presentation Day: Tuesday 14th March
Presentation Time: 9.35 - 9.55am

A sustainable surfing future is not just about high-performance, dominant, male surfers and surfing performances. Instead, sustainable surfing futures need to account for growth in surfing participation, the effects of Olympism, growing influence of women, indigenous Australian-led processes of de/colonisation, increased surf tourism from cities and from the Asia-Pacific, and other changes in recreational beach use in Australia. The effects of these changes are not only demographic, logistical and geographical, but are cultural too. For example, women’s participation is changing surfing culture from the inside, with increased numbers of women writing about, photographing, filming and challenging surfing history and culture, as well as driving performance boundaries in surfing recreationally and competitively. These changes are reflected in media, but they are also represented through everyday tensions in the water, and in critiques of the limited recognition of (for example) women’s in surfing cultural contributions, such as in the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. In this presentation, I will draw on my work about women who surf and the role of being non/local in surfing culture and places, to illustrate ways that existing male- and performance-dominated hierarchies in surfing make it difficult for ‘newcomers’ to take part in surfing, to feel a sense of belonging, and to be recognised as having legitimate voices of cultural authority.