WA Surf Gallery to celebrate WA's women in surfing

WA Surf Gallery custodians Jim King, Thea McDonald-Lee and Mick Marlin are searching for memoribillia from WA's women in surfing for an exhibition this year.
WA Surf Gallery custodians Jim King, Thea McDonald-Lee and Mick Marlin are searching for memoribillia from WA's women in surfing for an exhibition this year.

Western Australian women who surf will be celebrated at an exhibition held at the WA Surf Gallery later this year and the team are looking for surfing memorabilia from around the state.

WA Surf Gallery custodian Thea McDonald-Lee said women surfing in WA was something they wanted to look into because there was a great history and incredible stories from women back in the day.

"It was quite difficult for a woman to be a surfer and to be taken seriously on the circuit or out in the lineup every day," she said.

"These women forged a way for us.

"There is a really cool culture of women and young girls in WA today and some of it probably comes from them.

"We really want to celebrate that and we are just in the beginning stages of collecting memorabilia like boards, photographs, trophies and things like that which really embody Western Australian women."

The WA Surf Gallery are hoping for range of items which represents how eclectic the women were including boards, memorabilia, bikinis, wet suits, art, digital content etc and would like people to get in touch if they have items they want to donate.

The exhibition will celebrate women who surfed for the love of it and those who surfed competitively.

Custodian Jim King said there were many girls who made a life out of surfing but were not professional surfers.

"There is the competition side but also the natural side, there are a lot of clever skillful women around who might not be in the spotlight but still surf, hopefully we capture some of that too," he said.

The pioneers of WA's female competitive surfing began 55 years ago when WA held its first state surfing titles which included a women's event.

Mr King said Jenny Shackley won the event and went to the Eastern States for the World Titles.

"Tina Christian from Miami won three years in a row from 1965 to 1967 she was our state champion before she quit and went up north.

"Maureen Farrell took over from 1968 to 1970, they were the first core group.

"We need Thea and the other girls to take us from the 1970's onwards."

Mr King said many female surfers from the region had success on the world stage starting in the 1980's with Jodie Cooper from Albany who was a pro surfer for 11 years winning contests in Hawaii.

"In the 90's we had Melanie Redman-Carr who was number two in the world winning the Sunset Cup in Hawaii, then we had Claire Bevilacqua who won the Pipeline Masters in 2009.

"Now we have Bronte Macaulay and Emma Cattlin."

Custodian Mick Marlin said there were many Australian champions throughout the years and the ones who had done the best in the past few years were surfing longboards like Claire Finucane, Georgia Young and Michaela Ross.

"We had three WA girls in the Australian Titles," he said.

If people have items they would like to donate to the WA Surf Gallery exhibition they should get in touch through Facebook or Instagram.

The exhibition is set to take place at Aravina Estate, the home of the WA Surf Gallery, from November 23.

This story WA's women in surfing first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.