“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.’ - Moses


Part 1:  I Just Fell in Love with Women

In the surf world I am a chauvinist pig.

My son must have noticed this about me.

Sometimes I watch surf contests if the waves are pumping. I turn the TV  off when the women come on.

I am a chauvinist. But yesterday I was more of a pig than I am today.

Today I am less piggish.

An old friend of mine has a sister named Holly. She came to Ireland from my old home on a very long island. Holly was road tripping round the Ireland coast with ‘the girls’, and she was heading up my way. She asked if we knew of any good waves for her friends, “Slabby waves,” she said, “these girls can surf.”

“Slabby for a girl,” I thought yesterday, before I became slightly less piggish. I invited Holly for dinner.

“I have friends with me, “she said.

“Bring ‘em.”

I didn’t know they were pro surfers.

A group of girls, I was thinking, for a change. My wife has put up with enough dudes in our house over the years. I also thought it would be good for my son. Women surfers. He has not, in his six years of life, met a female pro surfer. If my son is a chauvinist, it would be my fault

‘The girls’ arrived. I cooked. We ate. We talked. They left.

“That was amazing,” I said to my wife. “I just fell in love with women.”

“You just heard surfers speak in a way that interests your soul,” my wife said. “Guys talk about how who does this, who can do that. Those girls were talking about how surfing mends the soul, about how somebody hooting for your wave can frame happiness. Of course you fell in love, it’s the first time you’ve actually heard women.”

I fell in love with women surfers and when they left they took some of my piggishness. I decided to call up the Enlightened Woman for coffee. Casual. She digs me. She digs honesty. She is proud of me for thinking critically which is exactly what my wife said.

“For our coffee,” she said. “I want you to represent Men.”

“I’ll represent Men Who Surf.”

“I suppose,” she said, “that will do.”


Part 2 Drama

Scene Mid Morning: A crowded coffee house in the West of Ireland. Man is waiting in a queue to order coffee when Woman walks in. Man gestures towards the only empty table, a jacket hanging over one chair. Man holds up two fingers to the coffee dude, and heads back to the table where Woman is waiting, but has not sat down.

Woman:  Hi.  What’s with the handshake? Give me a hug.

Man: OK. (awkward hug) COVID. I never know what to do.

Woman: I don’t think anyone has ever had a chat like last night.

Man: (pulling out the stool) I hope it’s OK to delve right in here. I grew up with women being in Reef ads with their butts out. One page a woman’s butt and the next would be Occy or Curren surfing perfect waves. Waves and women became things to me, desirable things.

Woman: And that’s changed?

Man:  I realized I was missing something.

Woman:  You are.

Man: I am. Can I ask a question?

Woman:  It’s what I’m here to hear.

Man: (fidgets with the sugar cube) No, so, like, wow, this is actually difficult to ask. Ok. So why do women surfing bore me? Why do so many women longboard? Why have I never watched a surf movie featuring women? Why do I turn off contests when the women’s heat starts?

Woman: (holds up four fingers) You asked four questions. Nervous?

Man: I mean, why aren’t there more women surfing big waves, or slabby waves, or any of that?

Woman: (Holds up one more finger) Five. I know the first one is the biggie.

Man: Look at soccer, look at rugby, skiing, sailing. Women who play these sports are entertaining.

Woman: Sure

Man: (Nods, puts the sugar cube back, then picks it back up)

Woman: You think women surfers are boring.

Man: Yes, ‘til I met you.

Woman: Yes, what?

Man: No. I mean, until I met you, I never met a woman who was the drawing-waves-on-schoolbooks kind of surfer. I mean surfers are people whose life paths are paved with waves. Surfers are pulled by a strange kind of magnet.

Woman: Last night you said one.

Man: One what?

Woman: (sips coffee) You knew a girl who surfed big waves.

Man: Oh yea. Long story. We used to surf big waves together but everyone assumed we were having an affair.

Woman: Sounds like a bad movie.

Man:  Yea, I mean, if you are serious about your surfing, you push yourself. You get stronger, go bigger, turn harder. You push your limits.

Woman: “Serious” is an odd word to use with surfing.

Man: (The coffee dude brings two Americanos to the table. Man nods.)

Woman: (to the coffee dude) Thanks! (the coffee dude leaves) How many men you know personally who are surfers? The stronger, push their limits,  waves-on-school-books kind of surfers?

Man: Loads, I mean, all the pros. Nathan Florence was probably the best surfer I’ve ever had a chat with. Russel Bierke, we call him Uncle Russel, picked me out of the rocks when I broke my foot. Tom Lowe used to crash at my house. He convinced me drinking beer before a big surf the next

day was a bad idea, and he brewed coffee through a corncob pipe. Will Skudin is de-facto family, he’s one of the most passionate guys out there. Lucas Chumbo, jeez that guy is ice cold like a race car driver. There is Conor Maguire, who is like our prince. And that’s just from here. In Hawaii I knew…

Woman: A lot more men surf. There is that simple stat.

Man: (fingers the sugar) I met Paige Alms once. She’s cool. Ummm. Once I did some garden work for Rochelle Ballard. (Sips coffee) She didn’t talk to me though.

Woman: There you go. Paige definitely drew waves on her books.

Man: I met Paige. I don’t know her. We had a quick chat. This was in Fiji.

Woman: (Sips coffee) The lineup.

Man: What lineup?

Woman: The answer to your question. Why are women boring? The answer is the lineup. The way surfers organize themselves to catch waves. The pecking order.

Man: Please, let's maintain a bit of context, women surfers. Why are women surfers boring?

Woman: (Sips her coffee) Yes I know.

Man: (Sips coffee) There is no shortage of exciting women in the real world, but in the surf world…

Woman:  When you were coming up, what were the lineups like?

Man:  When I grew up, guys were tough. People got punched. Guys got punched for not following the rules. Nobody punched me, but I got yelled at a lot. I mean, once I drifted to the wrong side of this guy G.V., and he yelled at me. I cried. But I learned the rules, right?

Woman:  Rules of the lineup.

Man:  The rules. The ones that aren’t written about and aren’t spoken about but you’d better follow them. Where to sit. What waves to catch. Know your place – all that.

Woman: I had to study the rules harder than you, being a woman.

Man: I can see that.

Woman:  It’s a strange place, the lineup.

Man:  Unwritten, unspoken rules, but you’d better follow them. Right? There have to be rules. Otherwise (sips coffee) chaos.

Woman:  Who made these rules?

Man:  Well, men.

Woman: A man made these rules.

Man: Who, God?

Woman:  To many he is a god, yes, but not me. Before I tell you who, tell me this: What are the rewards for following these rules?

Man: I’ve only thought about the consequences.

Woman: OK. What consequences?

Man:  On the light end of it, a reminder of the rules. Somebody will go out of their way to remind somebody of the rules, to follow the rules, or one particular rule for the safety of everybody else.

Woman: And, on the heavy end?

Man:  Violence. At Pipeline in the days when I was there somebody would whistle to alert everyone that a rule was broken. Those whistles would relay to the beach and up into the surf house. Somebody would come down to the beach to hurt you. Ass kicked in public. Some

people tried to paddle down to Rockies or Log Cabins, but the enforcers would just follow you down the beach. There was no way to escape. And if you really messed up - I heard - they would buy you a one-way plane ticket back home. You would be driven to the airport, beaten, and escorted off the island forever. These were only rumors now but, a rumor of that sort of thing is...

Woman:  Scary.

Man:  Yes. Very scary. Very serious.

Woman:  What are the rewards for following these unwritten and unspoken rules?

Man:  You climb up the pecking order. Until you reach the top.

Woman:  And if somebody yells at you, or punches you for breaking these unwritten and unspoken rules, do you give up?

Man: No.

Woman: Why not? Why keep doing it if you get scolded and punished?

Man:  Because giving up is not going to get you to the top of the pecking order.

Woman: So, perseverance works?

Man: You can’t give up.

Woman: It's not the same for women in surfing. Women who persevere in the lineup are seen as overly aggressive or even crazy. For men, perseverance is a sign of character, of manliness. But for women, it’s seen as beyond the pale. A woman surfer who doesn’t give up is wearing a tinfoil hat. She’s pushing a shopping cart full of empty cans.

Man:  Crazy.

Woman:  Perseverance works out for men. It does not work like that for women. Men surfers persevere with support. Women surfers persevere without it.

Man: To rise up in the pecking order, yes, men are rewarded for this behavior. It is manly, gallant, cocky, noble, virile, powerful and self-reliant. But for women who behave the same way…

Woman: We are punished. We are Medusa, a madcap, muckraker, a gorgon, a battle ax, ogress, a backbiter, Jezebel, a Karen.

Man: (winces)  Ouch. I never thought about it that way. I’ve never questioned the rules of the lineup.

Woman: (claps with her fingers excitedly) But now you are.

Man: (Elvis voice)  Thank you very much. (regular voice) I’m less piggish today. 

Woman: Funny you mention Elvis. They used to call Miki Dora the “Elvis” of surfing. Miki Dora was a model for how surfers moved, dressed, and acted. He was a model for how to surf, how to look, how to think, like Elvis was a model for how to look and act like a rockstar.

Man:  Miki Dora was king then, but not now. Ancient surfing was a sport of kings and queens, right? But modern surfing started with men. Modern surfing really kicked off post - WW2, a very misogynistic time in America. I’m talking Stepford wives kinda thing. Women in the kitchen making

steaks and cocktails for their husbands.

Woman: (laughing) Yea, and Miki Dora was the cool antihero. Cool meant free. And goody - goody Superman wasn’t free. John Dillinger was. Al Capone was.

Man: Are you comparing Dora to Dillinger?

Woman: (Deep breath) The lineup. The lineup rules started with Miki Dora, cool god to a generation. He invented all those unwritten rules. It’s the rules. We follow the system he invented.

Man: Those old photos of the iron crosses and swastikas. I remember thinking of them as being some sort of pre-punk rebellion effort. Like a last-ditch effort to piss off your parents.

Woman: That's their story. Piss off the squares. But I think it was more sinister than that. Southern California had these enclaves of supremacist Nazi sympathizers, and this was the late fifties, one generation after World War II. The Holocaust was fresh. The civil rights movement started in earnest.

Man: So, what are you saying?

Woman: Modern surfing was born in California. Malibu was the womb. Miki Dora was L’Enfant Sauvage and grew up to be god. He was Elvis. And he wrote the rules of the lineup. He wore a lot of Nazi gear.

Man: (pause) Dam. But he didn’t wear them for real. Like seriously.

Woman: Can you wear Nazi gear in a fun way?

Man: (longer pause) No. Nobody goes as Hitler for Halloween.

Woman: Who is the most famous surfer who ever lived?

Man: Kelly Slater

Woman: Gidget.

Man: Gidget was just a character in a film.

Woman: She was real. She is real and still alive.

Man: No she isn’t.

Woman: Google it. Gidget inspired a whole generation to start surfing. Her real name was Kathy. After the films, a million people learned to surf. Malibu was the first crowded wave in the world. “Kooks of all colours,” said Miki.  “Fags and finks” ruined his wave, so he left. He let people

believe he left in some sort of protest, but he left because he had been busted for writing fake cheques for ski gear.

Man:  Yikes. The king of cool.

Woman: So was Micheal Jackson at one time.

Man: Ouch.

Woman: You said before that the reward for following the rules of the lineup is to rise to the top. Is that your reason for surfing, to rise to the top?

Man: (stares at the wall)  I’m trying to take in the whole Dora thing.

Woman: Why do you surf?

Man:  It's fun.

Woman: Yes. We surf because it's fun. Is rising through the pecking order to the top, fun?

Man: Yes.

Woman: Have you ever noticed how really good surfers, the ones having the fun, seem to always be in the right place for waves?

Man: Yes.

Woman: If you are a woman having the most fun, guys will just burn you. Or worse, they push their kid into a wave in front of you.

Man: Because you are not perceived as having fun “seriously.”

Woman: I’m always so conscious about my first wave in a lineup. I feel like men are waiting for me to kook it. Men are waiting to say, “this isn’t for you”, the way Dora thought about everybody. Dora made these rules so he could remain king. Everyone else could interpret his rules as long as they knew that surfing wasn’t for them. It was for him. The “kooks of all colours, the fags, the finks” and the women. Well, wasn’t it Gidget who ruined his wave?

Man:  So, if Dora was a tyrant, and we still follow his rules, what do we do now? How do we fix this?

Woman:  People need to hear what you heard last night: women talking about surfing. Women surfers, not just one woman but women, together. Women surfers bring something very un-Miki Dora-like to surfing. That is what you realized you were missing last night. Women practice what men really want. They are conscious of what is truly important. Something that Dora never grasped.

Man: Which is?

Woman: That everyone needs to be hooted at. And for that to happen, everyone needs to hoot. When women surf together, there’s always hooting. Miki’s system is old. It’s burning coal. It’s toxic. Yet we can’t get unstuck from it.

Man: What do you think we should do?

Woman: We should get another coffee. We should talk. And then we should go surfing … together.