House debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Statements by Members

Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

1:39 pm

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

On 28 October, I attended the Celebration of Australian Women in Surf at Manly, hosted by Sally Fitzgibbons to raise funds for the Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation. The event highlighted Australia's success in female surfing but also paid tribute to those women who fought so hard to give female surfing and sports the profile that they deserve. Five Australian world female surfing champions were present on the evening, including Phyllis O'Donnell, the first female world surfing champion from Manly in 1964, Pam Burridge, Pauline Menczer, Layne Beachley and our newest world female surfing champion, Wollongong's Tyler Wright.

The women explained just how hard it was and how much they have fought to give their sport and their skill and athleticism the recognition and sponsorship that they deserve. Phyllis O'Donnell spoke of being awarded a trophy and a packet of cigarettes in 1964, when she won the world surfing title. Pauline Menczer spoke about when the men were staying in top-class hotels the women were sleeping on someone's floor in board bags. Pam Burridge said that when the waves were no good for the men, they would send the women out in inferior conditions. These women have fought and persisted and surfing is now one of the only sports in the world where female prize money is exactly the same as for men, a true credit to these women. Many other sports should take a leaf out of surfing's book.

On the evening, they raised $15,000 for the Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation to fight childhood obesity. Congratulations to all those involved.


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