Paige Hareb was the first New Zealander to requalify for the ASP Word Tour. Despite this national success, Paige lacks an international sponsor to assist her in funding trips to actually compete on the tour. Necessity being the mother of invention, she turned to a fundraising site called Sportfunder.
Paige’s situation is a blatant example of the glass-ceiling still present in women’s surfing: women’s prize purses are still significantly less than men’s and sponsorship deals present even larger pay gaps. While women are expected to mimic the surfing styles of men, they are not rewarded in equal measure.
Cynthia Kruger at TheInertia.com wrote:
“The hard truth is that it’s not easy to finance a shot at the World Title, even if you’re considered the 10th best female surfer on the planet. The top women struggle to make ends meet while competing for prize purses that aren’t extremely lucrative, especially when compared to the men’s compensation. While the best male goofyfooter, Owen Wright, is comparably ranked 9th on the men’s side, he’s hauled in $77,800so far this year. Paige took home just $48,100. Owen’s already earned more this year than the female champion Stephanie Gilmore ($72,600), but significantly trails number one Mick Fanning ($221,950 and counting). That the guys have three more events doesn’t account for the big disparity in prize money. Female surfers have to pay travel costs and other expenses just like the men, but aren’t rewarded the same.”
It is tempting to boil this gender gap down to the overtly sexist culture that dominates in surfing, where men set and enforce standards and create the mainstream media. However, the gender pay gap in surfing corresponds to the global pay gap that prevails globally (although the gap seems to be especially wide in our surf culture) . According to the Economist.com “FULL-TIME working women in America earned only 82.2% of men’s median weekly earnings last year….Women earned less than men in almost all occupations. ”
From The New York Times