Women in Surfing: an interactive media project
The starting point for this project was in some ways more about the method than the topic. I was considering some topics that would allow me to shoot a short documentary using a team and for me to edit and complete that project. This may have had a social media component but may not. However I am very interested in developing my knowledge and skills in working with social media to build a community around a project to share ideas, source information and possibly content and to develop an audience for a media product, such as a documentary. So to this end, I have chosen to run with a project based around social media.
The topic I chose is an area I’m familiar with, surfing. I have completed a short documentary on surfing and didn’t really mean to stay with this topic. However, the idea I pitched resonated with people who have become my team members and I ran with the idea.
This will be a multimedia project that seeks to explore what obstacles continue to exist for women engaging in sport, in particular, surfing. The project will utilise social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to create a dialogue and place to share stories for women surfing against the odds.
Media gathered from these sites will be used to create a short documentary exploring the area of women breaking down the barriers to surfing. The documentary will also include interviews with local women surfers. The final documentary will be available on a number of media platforms.
I have undertaken research into projects, websites, Facebook pages that are about women and surfing. I have also been directed by Patrick to a site that for me sets a bit of a framework for this project, Goa Hippy Tribe by Darius Devas. This project is thought to be the first Facebook documentaries created globally. As Devas says in his interview with Emaho Magazine:
The project has this direct link to Facebook; having a page for people to easily connect allowed for a lot of magic to happen and stories to be shared…It was an incredible experience to watch it grow.
Devas also notes that this project was undertaken in 2010 when Facebook had a more intimate feel and that the response may not be the same with a project undertaken in this way in 2015. I found a blog post that provides a really useful analysis of the project. In particular, writer Chloe Brennan notes in her blog:
Social Media is a major consideration in all elements of this documentary piece. First and foremost it is the trigger for its creation, secondly it became the platform that it was initially viewed through, and thirdly it enables people to continue to interact with the story and allows the story to keep on evolving.
Facebook brought about the reunion of the Goa hippys of the 1960’s but it has remained as a space for sharing and communicating.
The concept was picked up by SBS who worked with Devas to make an interactive documentary from content gathered and shot for the Facebook page.
In researching my project I have found a range of projects that address the obstacles to women surfing, especially in cultures where surfing for women is not seen as acceptable. These sites include:
Marion Poizeau’s documentary Into the Sea on women surfing in Iran. This documents an Irish woman Easkey Britton who was the first woman (or person) to surf in Iran.
Marion Poizeau was interviewed at the London Surf Film Festival in 2014.
Other websites include Brown Girl Surf a project based in the US that has worked with Storytellers for Good to create two videos on women surfing in Bangladesh and India. These are great short videos and I am wondering how to build on such well made work that really targets my query.
Other general websites include:
I have a key contact with a young Australian female surfer, Sam Suenderman, who can provide contact with women surfing in India, Mexico, China and Fiji. Here’s a video Sam made while on placement in Fiji for her Community Development at Victoria University:
Ishita Malaviya (India’s first female surfer) features in a new movie
Ishita has set up The Shaka Surf Club – a surf school in India. Check this out for other Indian surf websites
Surfing Mums at Torquay Surf Coast Surfing Mums and below is an article from Jan 2014 about them setting up the group.