Homophobia is all to prevalent in professional sports and nowhere does homophobia seem stronger than in the pro-surfing circuit. Yet, the reality is that there are many thousands of gay surfers world wide. A new film which was the brain child of the founder of GaySurfers.net and an Australian surfer aims to break the taboo and help gay surfers come out and help change heretofore closed minds. Here is a synopsis of the film:
Even after winning amateur surf contests in Australia, the fear of others finding out he was gay, made David Wakefield abandon competitive surfing. David kept his sexuality a secret for another 20 years. But when he finally decided to come out, he didn’t expect it would be on national television.
The turning point in David’s story came when he met a French surfer named Thomas. Thomas had just set up GaySurfers.net, the world’s first online community of gay surfers. Suddenly David can connect with thousands of other like-minded surfers from all over the world. David and Thomas decide to march in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, and David becomes the unsuspecting media focal point of TV news coverage – outing him to the whole country on national television.
As unsettling as this is initially, David becomes more connected to his life, his sexuality and surfing. He leaves his job and embarks on a global journey to meet other gay surfers, ride some great waves together and hear of their fears, joys and experiences. David meets world champion Cori Schumacher, ex US pro-surfer Robbins Thompson and many more. He reaches out to pro-surfers, journalists and psychologists in a bid to understand why most gay surfers live a closeted life, how homophobia in surfing has come to be, and what needs to change. David’s discovery of the hidden side of surf culture reveals stories of discrimination and exclusion, but also of hope, energy, the love of the ocean – which create of a vision of the world where the new generation is free to be themselves and live their dreams.
Watch a trailer for the movie here.
I love surfing myself and will always have fond memories of surf trips with my son and his friends. As in everything else, gays have every right to be who they are and excel on the pro-surfing circuit if they have the talent, determination and courage to take on the ocean.