“We can be sexy and we can be the athlete” Coco Ho on women’s surfing in 2013

Credit: C.Lallande/US Open of Surfing

The Hawaiian Pro on embracing being a girl and being a female athlete, why there’s never been a better time to be in women’s surfing, and how all they need now is decent contest waves…

I definitely want to be portrayed as an athlete. I want to be portrayed as a respected athlete, but I also live freely. I still have fun. I still like to dress up and be a girl and hang out with the girls and do my nails, but I want to be serious, and I want to be an athlete. Doing both is totally possible. There are a few of us in that group – like Steph Gilmore. That’s who we all aspire to be like and look up to. She does an amazing job. She wears wedges, boots, heels to the contest area. It’s like, “Okay, we can dress up to the beach and to the contest area.” We can be girls. We can embrace being girls. We can embrace being female athletes and still go out and perform, do our training regime, go to the gym, etc., and have fun with the girls.

That balance epitomises the state of women’s surfing right now. If you see Sally [Fitzgibbons] on the beach, she’s the most serious, focused competitor, but when it’s time to dress up for Surfer Poll, she’s immaculate. She’s gorgeous. I think that’s where women’s surfing is at the moment. Everyone’s embracing that we can do bothWe can be sexy, and we can be the athlete. And there’s no better time to be a woman surfer. I’m just so lucky to be in this generation and to embrace it and to show younger girls that you can balance. Life is about balance. You can be that serious competitor and still have a life and have boyfriends. Be a girl. As athletes, we may have missed prom and some of the fun things that every other girl gets to do, but we get to travel the world and juggle everything. It’s in an amazing state right now. It’s not frowned upon if you wear mascara down to the beach. Everything’s evolving now.

With that said, the girls are all surfing so well, but we’re getting the worst conditions. Every time we get good waves, the boys are tweeting, “Wow, they rip! They’ve got so much potential.” It’s like, “Yeah, we finally got to surf a four-foot wave.” If we had these waves every time, we’d be ripping. It’s hard to rip one-foot whitewater.

Basically, I feel like people are noticing how much potential we have and are recognising that we need better waves. Beyond that, we’re doing a great job balancing embracing being sexy women and being athletes and finding that healthy place in the middle.

This article was first published by The Inertia. Check out more from Coco and The Inertia here.

Here’s a note from The Inertia’s Editor about the piece: “About two months ago, we caught up with Coco Ho and asked her to share her thoughts on a variety of topics during a sit-down interview, ranging from fitness tips to why the Women’s Tour should end in Hawaii to her view on women being viewed as athletes in professional surfing.”


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