Surf Divas evening at Surf Word (L to R) Phyllis O’Donell, Robert Mitchell, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore.
Surf Divas evening at Surf Word (L to R) Phyllis O’Donell, Robert Mitchell, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore. Ilona O'Hearn

Gidget and surfing divas tell stories

“IT’S always been about the men for me.”

They were the words of Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the original Gidget surfer girl as she spoke to a packed house at Surf World last week.

Guests were silent as Ms Kohner Zuckerman was joined by three other living surf legends, Phyllis O’Donell, Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore, for the Divas of Surfing dinner.

“Women’s surfing often does not get the recognition it deserves and the Divas evening aimed to focus attention on some fantastic female surfing achievers,” Surf Word chairman Mal Sutherland said.

The evening was run in conjunction with the Divas of Surfing exhibition currently open at Surf World.

Ms Kohner Zuckerman spoke of her time surfing in the late 1950s when her main motivation was to get the attention of the male surfers.

Ms O’Donell, the first female world champion, reminisced about her time as a competitive surfer.

When asked about the prizemoney on offer when she won her world title in 1964, she replied: “I won a carton of Craven As and I smoked ‘em all.”

Current world champion Stephanie Gilmore spoke of how honoured she felt to be in the presence of the other three women. “Each of these women represent something about surfing that I adore,” Miss Gilmore said.

“Phyllis was a real pioneer in those early days, Kathy represents all the glamour of the beach scene, while Layne is the pure athlete, competitive and intensely driven.”



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