The long and short of (performance) surfing: tightening patriarchal threads in boardshorts and bikinis?

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Surfing economies, working through material culture in the form of high fashion clothing, surfing monikers or fashion clothing has had scholarly attention in the past. Unlike other sports however, clothing for performance rather than fashion or cultural consumption remains under-researched. With increasing research on the gendered and sexualized nature of surfing alongside an increasing emphasis on female surfing as athletic performance, a paradox seems apparent. In warm-water competition, women deal with tensions associated with appearance, sponsorship driven by sexual objectification and functional surfwear that increases exposed body surface–while men’s clothing epitomizes comfort, protection and ultimately a reduction in exposed body surface. Under the guise of athletic performance and celebrating female gains in the sport, a patriarchal thread seems to tie up a particular sex, gender and sexuality order that is neither new nor productive for high performance or full participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1399
Number of pages18
JournalSport in Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • surfing
  • gender
  • clothing
  • physical culture
  • sport
  • competition
  • patriarchy
  • Sexuality

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