Using sex to sell surfing: the backlash continues with comments from Coco Ho and Pauline Ado

Two weeks ago we ran an interview with Carissa Moore in which she talked about her reservations around the current sexing up of surfing.  

It’s a topic we also chatted to Coco Ho about at last months’s Swatch Girls Pro France, and we’re posting for the first time now. She’d said recently that female surfers “can be sexy and the athlete” and I was interested in whether she thought you could go too far on the sexy thing. She said:

There’s definitely a point where you can go too far. I’m very family orientated so that’s where I draw the line. Would I be comfortable with my brother and Dad seeing it? Would they be proud of me?

Solid advice. And for any young girl using social media in fact. I asked about the slutty slogans some of the girls were sporting at the US Open and she said:

Seeing the US Open and Anastasia’s thing it’s kinda disheartening for sure. It’s just like would your family be proud? Would your grandmother be like that’s my granddaughter? And that’s where I find my fine line. Would my brother still want to look at it, a future husband and so on.

Photo: Rip Curl

The Swatch Pro also threw up a cool interview with Pauline Ado on Magic Seaweed in which Ed Temperley asks her how she feels about the media’s current representation of women’s surfing. She says:

I think right now there’s a little too much of a sexy part sometimes. And I think we need to play this part. But we need to keep it like … how do you say? In French we call it class. Sometimes the boundaries are a bit too far. We are athletes you know, and being an athlete is sexy. I think there are ways to present things and sometimes it is a little too much.

Ed Temperley later asks, “If she believes getting it all out on Instagram is just a trend? Is there a scenario in which over-exposure could reverse and become deeply unfashionable?” She says:

It could. I just hope that we’ll find the boundaries. I guess it makes people talk about women’s surfing, but not, maybe, in the best way. I hope we will find the boundaries and be back to a classy way of representation.


Word to that. Where’s it all going to go from here? Who knows but we’re watching. Especially now that research shows women consumers respond better (as in buy more shit!) when women are represented as athletes and not sex symbols.

Tell us what you think below the line or on our facebook or twitter and we’ll round up the best comments early next week.



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