A 7ft x 21 mini mal
I haven’t surfed much in Winter the last few years and the main reason is the cold water isn’t as enjoyable as it used to be. OK I’ll admit it, I hate the cold water which is a big call for someone who wears shorts and t-shirts all year.
I decided it was time to try a different approach. K-Stars at Wallsend and Adamstown are stockists of the Ocean & Earth range of wetsuits, stocking a great range.
The one I selected to try was the 3/2 Double Black Steamer with the back zip. The back zip is not as long as the traditional zip and is still easy to use.
The wetsuit feels good, is easy to get into and fitted great. The neoprene is soft and doesn’t feel restrictive at all. The internal plush material felt good too.
Marketing hype says that the wetsuit has Glued & Blind Stitched internal Water Shield which is basicallt meant to maximise warmth and minimise water entry, so it was time to put the marketing department of O&E to the real test.
I entered the water waiting for rush of cold water to hit the legs but it just didn’t happen. Even when I got to waist deep there was no cold water. I thought to myself, “This is how a wetsuit should be”. Maybe they were and I had just been missing out all these years.
I was paddling out when the moment of truth appeared. It was time to duck dive! As I went under the cold water hit the head and I was waiting for the water to do it’s usual run down the back. Again it didn’t happen.
After almost two hours in the water I wasn’t cold, had no wetty rash under my left arm pit and felt good. I didn’t feel as restricted as I normally do. When I was on a wave I barely noticed the wetsuit at all.
I really love this wetsuit and can even wear my Ocean & Earth Java 1.5mm Reef Boots with it.
If the steamer is this good I can wait to try the Double Black 2/2 Spring Suit.
The development on women’s surfing in Australia is helped by the number of WQS events and the rating attached to those events, but which is better?
Having both events available are equally important.
The QS6000 events bring the top WCT and WQS surfers to your local beach. The points are highly valuable and can determine who chases the world title the following year.
The surfing is amazing and it brings an international feel to the event.
The best example of this is Surfest, which is held each year at Merewether Beach in the month of February.
Due to funding and sponsorship the women’s event at Surfest dropped back to a QS1000 event in 2015. The benefit of having this rating meant that we got to see up and coming young surfers with lower rankings compete against some great international surfers.
Surfers like Sophia Bernard, The Greene sisters Mikaela & Eliza, Ellie Brooks and Alyssa Lock got a chance to shine and advance their competitive skills in this QS1000 event.
The benefit from to surfing in Australia is all these young ladies have progressed in the sport, we hope this was due to having events that increased their rankings which then allowed them to tackle QS6000 events.
Move forward to 2016 and Surfest became a QS6000 event and continues to be till this day due to crowdfunding.
A bigger international field is great for young frothing groms, good for increased sponsorship and exposure.
A QS6000 event helps our young aussie girls like Macy Callaghan and Philippa Anderson edge closer to the WCT, a reward for the hard yards.
Towards the end of the year the lower ranked surfers on the WCT, need to hit the WQS events to make sure the requalify for the WCT. This will be evident at the QS6000 Port Stephens Toyota Classic.
This event might not have the same impact, if it were a QS1000 event, however go back a week and Phillip Island will hold a QS1000 event, both important for the surfers competing.
As a photographer I like the first two rounds of a women’s event where you see the top players rested while the up and coming surfers battle to compete against the elite.
It’s hard to deny the excitement of seeing the best surfers competing against each other in the QS6000 events but the QS1000 events showcase much of the development work done by Surfing Australia with our young surfers.
I have a confession to make.
I have told my dark secret to several other surf photographers and some secretly agree with me. I prefer shooting women’s competitive surfing. I prefer shooting it over men’s.
So perhaps I should explain my self now that it’s all out in the open.
I have been shooting competitive surfing for around 4 years and have had the opportunity to shoot both men’s and women’s competitions, mainly WQS events.
One day when I was going through the 2000 shots I had taken during the day, and found that many of the men’s shots were similar and repetitive.
I have found that women’s surfing has retained it’s individuality and each competitor has their own style.
Women’s surfing relies less on raw power, it has a higher degree of finesse and has retained more of the old school feel.
Looking at any female surfer of the WCT and you’ll see turns where the rail is held throughout the turn but this isn’t just for the pro’s.
If you look at the likes of Claire Bevilacqua and Holly Wawn on the WQS then you’ll see power surfing but dig deeper in the WQS Rankings and you’ll find many young ladies who have similar power but have great individual style. Ones that come to mind are Dominic Barona and Holly Wawn.
Perhaps my love of women’s surfing comes from my appreciation of tighter turns in the pocket, solid bottom turns and a good round house cutback but the girls are making better use of manoeuvres like tail slides and quick snaps.
I think women’s surfing has a long road ahead and I don’t mean that in a bad way. More stand alone events, better conditions and an increase in WCT spots are steps in the right direction to the ultimate goal, getting more girls in the water, loving the sport that connects them with nature in it’s purest form.