Aloha friends! In this interview you'll meet Clarissa & Tiare, two friends who met in college. They recently started the Instagram page @theoceanisfemale, a place where real women share their real stories about surfing and love of the ocean. Bucking the trend of teeny-bikini, scantily clad women portrayed in surf media, @theoceanisfemale gives women a voice and inspires others through the real lens of women in surfing. Check them out, and you can submit your story to be featured!
Localish: Clarissa and Tiare, describe your vision in a nutshell for our readers.
@theoceanisfemale: The Ocean is Female was born over our general saltiness to the media representation of women in surfing and we came up with an idea: create a platform to celebrate women waveriders worldwide, share their stories, spread their stoke, and provide an alternative, more legitimate representation of female surfers.
Localish: So how did you two meet and when did you start surfing?
@theoceanisfemale: We met in the dorms at UCSB, where we learned to surf and spent 4 glorious years in the Santa Barbara waves together, eating (lots!) of shit, and giggling (also lots). Unbeknownst to us, that first year of surfing was also one of the craziest El Niños Santa Barbara had experienced in ages. We spend most of the year tombstoning with our big blue softtops and resembling drowning rats. I think I was probably underwater more than I was above water on any given surf sesh that year. Poor Clarissa had found this ancient pre-Wavestorm softie super cheap on Craigslist, so she spent most the year literally trying not to sink. Needless to say - WE LOVED IT! We fell deeply, irrevocably in love that year, and even though we can actually catch waves now, I still have the most fun surfing when I'm with Clarissa performing epic wipeouts and getting the giggles.
Localish: Go Gauchos! It's so true that the best days of surfing aren't just about the waves- it's about the friends you're with. How did surf travel inspire you to think about how women are portrayed in surf media?
@theoceanisfemale: We've travelled all over California, Baja, the East Coast, and Central America. Everywhere we go, we've met so many awesome, badass, real women surfers in the lineup. I mean, these girls are so humble and nice, but they seriously rip! Then you look at surf industry media, and you don't see those girls much at all.
Localish: I totally hear you on that. But what about the pro women surfers?
@theoceanisfemale: You see some of the major pros, women like Tyler Wright or Keala Kennelly who are just incredible and really game changers in women's surfing, but the rest of the time it's buttshots or ads for tiny bikinis that wouldn't survive a duck dive. So obviously there's a discrepancy between the surf culture we see in surf media/advertising and the surf culture we experience as female surfers.
Localish: Agreed. Mainstream surf media certainly doesn't do much to paint an accurate depiction of female surfers. So what finally inspired you to start @theoceanisfemale page?
@theoceanisfemale: One day, we were complaining about not having any other female friends who surfed, and then about surf media in general, like how there's about a 10 to 1 ratio of photos of surfer girl butts vs. photos of surfer girls actually surfing... and something finally clicked. It is hard to not want to set the story straight.
Localish: Yeah, set that story straight! Tell us how you're telling the female surfers' story?
@theoceanisfemale: There are heaps awesome, badass, real women surfers in lineups around the world, and it’s been so amazingly wonderful to collect and curate their unique stories. So far, it's been such a gratifying experience to interview these surfistas and share their perspectives with a larger audience.
Localish: What's been the best part about sharing these stories?
@theoceanisfemale: It’s been so inspiring tapping into the web of strong, passionate water women throughout the globe. The feedback and stories we receive from our Intagram followers and insterviewees continues to reinforce the reasons we felt like this project was necessary in the first place. The ocean is female, let’s face it. And we are the women from around the world who are hungry for media outlets that show women surfers in the honest, raw, non-objectifying light that we deserve. The goal is to let these women's voices be heard, and we've been nothing but inspired and honored by the incredible voices we've heard thus far!
Localish: We'll we certainly appreciate that you've started this platform, and it can be so meaningful for many women around the world. If any of our readers would like to share their story with you, how can they do it?
@theoceanisfemale: Sure! Just go to our Instagram page @theoceanisfemale and send us a direct message, and we can get in touch with you.
Thanks again to Clarissa and Tiare of @theoceanisfemale, two very inspiring and badass women!