A mural celebrating local surfing legend and 1993 World Surfing Champion Pauline Menczer has been unveiled at Bondi Beach.
It was painted by Canberra visual artist Megan Hales on the Bondi Beach Sea Wall, and is part of a broader push for pioneering female surfers to gain recognition for their professional and personal contributions to the sport and culture of surfing.
Pauline, who lives in Brunswick Heads, won her world title in 1993 despite suffering from severe arthritis but did not receive any prize money or sponsorship – an injustice that was eventually acknowledged decades later.
Her story is featured alongside other women trailblazers on the formative professional surfing tour in the documentary Girls Can’t Surf.
‘Waverley Council acknowledges Pauline Menczer as an unsung hero of the surfing world and she deserves our formal recognition for all that she has achieved in a sport dominated by men in the 1980s and 1990s,’ Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos said.
‘We are helping celebrate her story by providing a most fitting location for this new mural, and by including her story in the Bondi Story Room, our new digital interactive exhibition within Bondi Pavilion, currently under restoration.’
A ‘Pauline In Bronze Committee’ has also been formed to raise funds to build a statue of the surfer at Bondi.
‘We are continuing discussions with the filmmakers about their campaign and the location for a possible statue based on how much is raised,’ Mayor Masselos said.
Board designed in Pauline’s honour
Pauline, 51, who has recently stopped working as a school bus driver, has also designed a surfboard that will be launched in her honour.
Tomorrow, national surf shop chain The Surfboard Warehouse will launch ‘The Equaliser’ in honour of the fight for equal pay on the professional surf circuit.
‘To have a board named for me and more sponsors than I had in the lead-up to the world titles 30 years ago is amazing,’ Pauline told the Sydney Morning Herald this week.
‘Because I was dark-haired and gay, sponsors didn’t want that story then, but like Bondi locals, they love the redemption story now.’