Initiating Surfeminist Spaces

“There is a place at the center of earth
where one ocean dissolves inside the other
in a black and holy love;
It’s why the whales of one sea
know the songs of the other,
why one thing becomes something else
and sand falls down the hourglass
into another time.”

“Sometimes the longing in me
comes from when I remember
the terrain of crossed beginnings
when whales lived on land
and we stepped out of water
to enter our lives in air.”
-excerpts from Crossings, by Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan

“Can she alone feel the music of the air trembling between the wings of the angels, and make or remake a body from it?” -Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover: Of Friedrich Nietzsche, 176

It’s been awhile… the last year has been a frenzy of activity, from travels that took us to Bali to behind the scenes work on outreach programs (launching locally in beta-form this month) and a series of activities scheduled for next year. Growing pains have been tremendous, but experiences have proven the need and the viability of the evolution our project, a project that focuses more intimately on what it means for surfing “to be a complicated force for the physical liberation of women and girls.”

What does this mean? This “physical liberation” and how can we articulate the capacity surfing has, in particular, as an integral and unique conduit for bridging the affective realm of the interior and the affected realm of the exterior? How might we create spaces to embolden surfing in this role in women and girl’s lives, starting from right where we live, right now?

We’ve been pondering the recent shift in women’s surfing as a critically engaged social movement and wondering if it is even possible to speak about it in terms of construction, like building a movement, when we know the movement is and has been in motion for centuries in various global locations, as a holistically engaged practice for transgressing and resisting forces of imperialism and colonialism. Just as in surfing, as Surfeminists, female surfers do not initiate the movement of a wave, but discover ways to synchronize ourselves, our bodies, to an energy that is always already in motion. In this sense, what wants initiating is the transformation of our situated, embodied lives as surfers to more critically and sustainably engage and merge our nomadic tendencies with our activist trajectories.

We wonder about spaces and representations (constructions) that are structured in ways that do not recognize or acknowledge our uniquely embodied reality, the richly diverse, haptic realm female surfers alone share. We recognize the static nature of spaces that are built on and through extant institutional networks and their extensions, which use pre-existing social models developed mainly by business and academia. These are spaces that are conducive to recursive engagement with and unidirectional service to each, problematically couching surfing within an opportunistic, external gaze that is not itself immersed in or informed through the surfing practice. Surfing is often situated as “the activity we do” between work, family, and school at networking seminars/summits/events, rather than the essential and ongoing experience through which we engage in and with and through our lives and the world (not as lifestyle, nor as identity).

How we imagine and hold on to the deterritorialized spaces we carve, the portals through which we transgress boundaries, the Inspired Liminal Spaces we hold within us as subjects moving with astounding agency and intensity within and through boundaries (not simply across them), the ways in which we put to work our inherent nomadic characteristics–mobility, multiplicity, flux, transformation, responsiveness–are important to how we continue to engage the world in our increasingly eco-socio-politically engaged female surfing subjectivities.

The world is rapidly changing, ecologically, socially, and politically. Female surfers are overflowing with transformative creativity (we find this endlessly fascinating in itself!), autonomy, and an inherent, authoritative gift to connect with the world through our bodies. The environment we call home, the Ocean that relates to us as much as we relate to it*, is an endless source of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical empowerment, the actual empowerment that strengthens our whole being, increases our efficacy (doing), and fluidly emboldens our will to not only protect the Oceanic environment that defines us, but also to stand on land as powerful agents of change. Let’s tap into this and work together to draw our depths to the surface, to aggregate our abilities and our tendencies, our sensual ways of being and doing in the world in becoming-movement spaces.

We will be initiating a project that delves into and connects us to our unique nomadic capacities and expansive creativities beginning in 2016 that will explore, activate, and sustain female surfers within the multiple ways we inhabit and transform spaces. We can’t wait for you to join us!

Subscribe to our newsletter here and watch this space for more information.

*This idea will be further explored in conversations about how matter matters, that is, how we (our full selves) are not only being constantly shaped by our environment, but also actively shape our environment in material and affective ways (think non-human life here). We are moving beyond social construction, surf culture, and surf media, (re)imagining surf spaces in an articulation that is at once poetic and pragmatic.


All rights reserved. © Cori Schumacher, 2015.

All rights reserved. © Cori Schumacher, 2015.

2 comment on “Initiating Surfeminist Spaces

  1. […] Inspire Initiative is organizing a day @ the beach on Saturday October 24 from 8am to 3pm FREE! [...
  2. Tara Ruttenberg Reply

    So much of this resonates on such a deep frequency, especially our collective re-imagining of multi-faceted selves as primarily surfing bodies and secondarily as everything else we embody as women, activists, etc. I love the focus of re-orienting our identities as inseparable from surf and sea, and all that entails for the becoming of an eco-socialist-feminist movement… possibilities abound! gratitude for the inspiration, always, and can’t wait to join in whatever the future brings! <3 tara

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