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Byron Shire
August 18, 2022

Locals take points in first all-female surf event

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Plenty of all-women surf action at Lennox over the weekend. Photo Michael Talbot (Surfing NSW)

Ross Kendall

The Le-Ba Ladybirds won the final event of the inaugural, and Australian first, All Women’s Surf Series held at Lennox Head over the weekend.

Over 100 women and girls competed in the Challenge Her Team’s Classic, coming from Sawtell, Lennox Head, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

The youngest surfer was just eight-years-old and the oldest 63-years old. Teams took to the water at Seven Mile Beach in pumping waves of four to six foot. The swell was challenging but rewarding for every level and age of surfer.

The teams of eight surfers ranged from beginner through to ex-World Tour professionals, including 1993 World Champions Pauline Menczer and Serena Brook. Teams were made up of four longboard and four shortboard surfers, a format developed by the Surfing NSW Her Wave team to specifically create greater opportunity and inclusivity.

All women judges

The 80-minute heats were relay-style; whereby surfers ran out, caught their best wave and returned to shore to tag their next team member. The heats were judged by an all-female judging panel, something Olympic and World Tour Judge Tory Gilkerson said she’s never seen before.

‘Today we’ve got four women judging this event. It’s a pretty amazing day for surfing to be honest. I’m proud to be part of this event and overseeing the judges here today,’ she said.

‘It was just gold! My heart’s singing today with this event, it’s the way surfing should be and where it should have been long ago,’ said Pauline Menczer who surfed for Lennox All Girls Mermaids. ‘There is nothing like this and it was such a great day for everyone. You’ve got women’s over 60s and girls’ under 10s.’

As well as the main surf team event there were a number of workshops and clinics being held at the Lennox Head Cultural Centre that ran throughout the day, hosted by local and industry professionals.


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