With only 19% of surfers worldwide being women, we should celebrate their achievements. Here is a showcase of the top female surfers in the UK that you should know about.
Follow this article for more information about who they are and what they're about. We hope this will inspire you to get on our wavelength and encourage more girls to get on the scene.
If you’re already feeling inspired but in need of a wetsuit to get you going, then you can check out our range of women's winter wetsuits!
An Inspiring Uprise
In an interview with Lucy Campbell, she recalled when she won the UK tour a few years ago, the winning man was given a prize of £5,000, and Lucy received nothing.
As unfair as this sounds, it’s sadly not an uncommon experience. But there have been some major changes for female surfers since.
From the once minimalistic approach to sponsorship, prize money and recognition, a new age is unfolding for women in the surf industry. Female surfing is on an uprise, and getting more deserved recognition and appreciation.
Influential Women of Water
Dating back to ancient Hawaii, women have played an active role in riding the waves.
In the 1800s, the Hawaiian princess Ka’iulani helped to revive her culture's sport when British Missionaries made efforts to suppress it. She even introduced the sport to England and surfed the English Channel.
A more modern memory of female surfing would be the fiction character Gidget. Based on Kathy Kohner, a teenage girl from Malibu who surfed in the 1950s.
Kathy wanted to write a book about her experiences in surfing. Her father ended up writing a series based on her and her love of surfing, and it was adapted into films.
Although still overshadowed by the white, male surfer stereotype, women still prevailed, carving the waves the way they know best.
Rell Sunn, known as Queen of Makaha and the First Lady of Surfing. Rell almost always made the finals in men’s contests. In 1982 she was rated the number one female surfer in the International Surfing Association.
Linda Benson, by the age of 15 was the youngest contestant to compete in the Internations Championship at Makaha and won. The same year she became the first woman to ride Waimea, famous for its 30-foot waves in winter.
Joyce Hoffman is regarded as one of the first female international surfing stars, winning an abundance of titles for herself in the industry. Joyce was the first woman to surf the Banzai Pipeline, the worlds deadliest wave.
For more information about the history of female surfers, click on the link to our blog below.
UK’s Top Female Surfers
Discover more about the UK's best female athletes below!
Peony Knight is a surfer from North Devon who held her women's title at the 2020 MVMT English National Championships in March. The 22 year-old first got into the sport when she was seven.
Her parents took her out of school for a year and introduced her to surfing. They travelled to California where they bought a bus and surfed down the coast, finally reaching Costa Rica.
She got her first surfboard on the trip, and by the end of the year-long holiday, Peony was hooked and couldn’t get enough. After spending her summers surfing in Ireland, Peony decided she wanted to surf competitively.
She has been following it as a profession for the past three years. In 2017 she was ranked as Britain’s top surfer and fourth-best in Europe. She is currently ranked at 101 in the WSL World Qualifying Series.
Ranked 147 in the Women's Qualifying Series in 2019, Emily competes in both short boarding and longboarding events.
Emily grew up in Bude, where she also learnt how to surf. She was not only the youngest to be selected for Team England in the 2018 World Longboard Surfing Championships in China, but she also impressed the surfing world when she finished ninth.
She recently took the 2020 champion title for the Women's Longboard at the 2020 Caravan and Motorhome Club English National Surfing Championships.
The 25-year-old professional surfer is not just an English Women's Champion but also a British Women's Champion too. At the age of ten, Lucy’s father and older brother taught her how to surf, and she’s been addicted ever since.
Lucy is ranked 96th in the Women’s Qualifying series for 2020 and is a six-time National Champion. She has been competing for nearly 15 years.
The Devonian has recently been on a break since March because of the coronavirus, which is a first in five years for her. Originally, she set sail to start the season with a qualifying series in China called the Corona Pro.
After competing in the qualifying series in Australia, Lucy returned home for the English Nationals just before the first lockdown hit. Lucy hopes to focus on the rest of the season and utilise her time to help surf schools.
Beth Leighfield has some impressive achievements under her belt. She is currently ranked 53rd in the Women’s Longboard Tour, as well as placing 9th in Boardmasters Longboard Pro for the World Surf League in 2019.
She has also taken the winning title in the Jesus Longboard Classic competition that was held online due to Covid-19 restrictions. An unusual adaption to traditional competitions.
The organisation decided to use an online platform called Clippero, this allowed the surfers to upload videos of them competing. The contest was open for six weeks and roughly 130 videos were uploaded.
For the final ceremony, the organisers arranged a zoom call to declare the winners and give thanks for all the hard work from the sponsors, organisers and surfers for competing.
A name worth keeping an eye on, this 14-year-old hasn’t only been winning titles in her age category! Lauren has achieved titles in competitions including the under 16’s, under 18’s and the women's divisions; incredibly impressive for a fourteen-year-old.
By the age of five, Lauren was surfing and skating with her older brother in Crantock, Cornwall, where she lives. Her first proper surf experience was in France at the age of six.
It will be exciting to see what she accomplishes next when the lockdown restrictions have eased off.
We hope you enjoyed this article on the UK’s top female surfers. We’d love to hear your thoughts; be sure to let us know as we’d love to hear from you! Eager to learn more about the world’s top female surfers? Check out our blog below!