This Is Me: Meena Rajput

The Quiksilver & Roxy UK Marketing Manager tells why actionsports are better than chapatis and why female surfers need some patience…

Interview by Anna Langer

If I love working in actionsports? Hell yes! I get to combine the things I love to do with good friends and a good career so I couldn’t really ask for much more. I spend my day working on projects that I am passionate about, supporting people who I genuinely want to help progress, and being sent on surf and snow trips around the world. It’s not a bad day at the office really.

Supporting the team riders is a really big thing for me. I’ve known a lot of them since they were groms so it makes me feel proud to see them doing well in contests, coverage, and general progression. I’m like a mum!

My love for boardsports began with a typical ‘skint student’ story 11 years ago! I got a job working at Ellis Brigham in Milton Keynes whilst also studying Marketing at Southampton. I was only supposed to stay for the Christmas period but ended up staying for a year because I loved the banter at work. This is where I made my first set of industry pals, this is where I started snowboarding, and this is where I realised that I wanted to stay. So I did.

You know that dream everyone has of turning up to work naked? That’s how I felt on my first day. I felt exposed and nervous, entering a domain I had no right to be in. But then an hour later I was having a great time with awesome people. Now I feel like I’m part of furniture.

The action sports scene had a reputation for being pretty intimidating, especially for girls. But now, with brands like Roxy, publications like Cooler, and more girls getting involved, the scene has definitely become more accessible and inviting.

Coming from a traditional Indian family background – I was supposed to be a good Indian girl, study pharmacy, get married, have kids, and make chapatis for ever more. Luckily, my stubborness came in handy for once and I ended up going down a totally different path. I’ve never been able to sit still, in one place, doing the same thing so I knew I had to get into action sports and travel. I can still make good chapatis and chicken curry though!

Female surfing is getting stronger and stronger – just like any evolvement of female sport. You start off with just a few at the top level with a wide gap before the next level. After a few contests people take more notice, sponsors get on board, the bar is raised, coaching becomes more intense, the competition gets harder, more girls compete, and the progression starts building more momentum. We now have a lot more talent from a younger age, a much wider range of girls at the top, and less of a gap between levels.

The Roxy Pro was a great example. The 4 top surfers; Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue were all still in the race to win the world title depending on 4 very possible outcomes at this event, which proves how female surfing has progressed over the years. This also meant that the finals of the Roxy Pro were really intense and exciting which is what you expect from such a credible ASP event.

I think there’s an impatience for female surfing to be given the same respect as male surfing, but female surfing is already on it’s way there, it will just take time. We need to continue to support and encourage the sport, the coaches, and the athletes both locally and internationally in order for it to progress. Roxy are lucky enough to have double Olympian Lesley McKenna working with our Roxy athletes. Lesley is motivated, talented, inspiring, credible and actual proof that the Brits have got what it takes to compete against the world’s leading female athletes. She’s the perfect role model for anyone wanting to get into action sports professionally.

I think it’s great to be girly, if you’re a girly girl! Not all of us are so girly though so we’ll always try to mix up the side activities at our events, whether it’s make up, art, music, or something else. Suggestions are always welcome!

I can’t think of any other industry I’d want to work in, so I guess I’m going to be an action sports grandma which would be amazing. If that’s the case I’d also expect to have a chalet in the mountains, a beach house in Bali, and a private jet by then too!

Most girls have something they want to leave in the past – and it’s usally the same thing – a guy! Next question!…

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