Surf's up for gender equality
Female world champion takes on men at surfing's U.S. Open
August 8, 1997
From Correspondent Jim Hill
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (CNN) -- Three-time world champion women's surfer Lisa Andersen is known for her aggressive style. She recently took that aggression to a new height on the water off of California's Huntington Beach.
The world-famous surfer ripped some waves this week at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach in an unusual role -- she was competing in both the women's and the men's divisions.
It was the first time this has ever happened at the prestigious event.
Andersen has set records in women's prize money and endorsements on her way to her three world championships.
But Andersen's maneuvers at Huntington Beach didn't pile up enough points this time in a competition that featured 351 opponents. She was eliminated in the men's heat.
"Overall, it's a lot harder than surfing against the girls," Andersen said. "I'm just out there trying to better my skills overall."
Despite coming up short against the guys, Andersen did pile up a lot of points with her fans.
"I'm thrilled to death to see her going out against the men," said one young woman. "I think it will give her a new standard to aspire to."
Even Andersen's friends are setting new standards for women in the water. Rochelle Ballard's specialty is riding in the barrel of big waves, the usual territory of only the bravest male surfers.
"I grew up with a lot of big wave riders ... and they were always pushing me to get out and test my skills," Ballard said.
The aggressive style of both women may be more than a passing wave, ridden by the two super stars.
Contest organizers say the standard should endure and encourage other women to surpass it. And, someday, many of those who are 'surfing like a guy' won't be guys at all.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.