The times are changing in surfing, there are no butts about it. As it stands Mick Fanning won’t be the only thing set to fade from the world tour, along with Fanning close-up shots of women’s derrières will no longer be the status quo.
Following the appointment of Sophie Goldschmidt, the first female set to run the World Surf League news has surfaced that cameramen and photographers shooting for the WSL have been asked to use discretion when focusing in on female surfers performing specific manoeuvers such as bottom turns and duck dives. The reason being cameras tend to zoom in on women’s bottom half:
“All cinematographers have been instructed to exercise discretion while shooting the women’s heats. Cinematographers must be careful to be zoomed out during bottom turns or duck dives. The WSL regularly trains its staff in the code of conduct and employee enhancement programs. We hold our staff, content, and organization to high standards across the board.’’
The choice of clothing is the surfers and what they find most comfortable. Caroline Marks, the youngest on tour at just 16, opted for wetsuit shorts.
“The World Surf League met on the Gold Coast during the Quiksilver Pro and sexual harassment was the number one topic for their human resource department. The meeting was a refresher on the rules and responsibilities of all WSL employees, a scenario taking place at big businesses around the world,’’
The league has not implemented any new restrictions or guidelines on how photographers and videographers could shoot the athletes this season. How they’re captured on film while competing wasn’t really something that the surfers thought about, said Paige Hareb Championship Tour athlete.
“I know it’s always been a bit of an issue, though, especially when some of the girls started wearing some of the skimpier ones. Obviously, I want mine to be covering everything. At the end of the day it’s each individual’s choice”, said Paige.
Layne Beachley, an Australian surfing icon weighed in on the issue. Here’s what the seven-time World Champion had to say:
“I respect the fact women can choose the bikinis they wish to surf in based on comfort or practicality,” she 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.”
“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. We’ve broken down those barriers and now the women are actually embracing their 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.”
Meanwhile, the South African surfing community has been debating the issue on Casey Grants Facebook page, check it out: