Beth O’Rourke Talks About Women & Big Waves

When you witness Sachi’s distinctive visuals of women riding waves resembling houses, you realize that what she is doing is undeniably galvanizing. Her water photography becomes even more incredible knowing that she swims out with her camera and fins through hundreds of yards of huge, freight-train waves and whitewater, placing herself in calculated peril. Clearly, her journalistic drive to record the first draft of history knows few physical and mental boundaries.

Women pushing themselves as hard as possible to progress in their sport is not a new story. Furthermore, steady opposition and push back have been their most consistent companion, even in the face of proving their prowess and worthiness. Title 9, though it made no explicit mention of sports, accelerated by the women’s rights movement, allowed honorable and inspirational greats to emerge in traditionally “masculine” sports”. Billie Jean King (tennis), Bobbi Gibb and Katherine Switzer (marathon runners), Manon Rheaume (hockey), and Mary Ann Hawkins and Marge Calhoun (surfing) enjoyed wider publicity (and criticism), painstakingly constructing a new frontier for the next generation of girls.

Today, we have many gutsy ladies in the mix, a loud collective voice, and vital female mentoring (can I get a “hell yeah!”). Not unsurprisingly though, the moldy, unpleasant odor of discrimination based solely on gender still lingers.

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