Thursday, March 08, 2007

X Games adds women's surfing

I have never been a huge follower of extreme sports and the X Games, but I remember that when they began, however many years ago now, there seemed to be women competing in them in events like skateboarding and rollerblading. But when I caught some of the action a few years ago there seemed to be no women in the Games. The women's events had disappeared. I guess not too surprising given that the games are owned by ESPN--not exactly an exemplar of gender parity.

I don't think this marks a resurgence necessarily, but it is promising that women's surfing will be incorporated into the Games this summer to be held in Mexico.

I really like women's surfing actually. (I am not ashamed to say I own Blue Crush and thought Kate Bosworth looked far better as in-shape surfer than she does now as anorexic waif.) I also liked the few reality shows that came out a few years back on surfers. One was on MTV and was about female surfers trying to win a spot in a professional competition and the other was on the WB (now CW) about a group of male and female professional surfers on the pro circuit.

But it seems the public lost interest in surf culture, which is too bad because I think surfing occupies an interesting space in sports culture. It is largely considered an alternative sport and it seems to attract not just rich white dudes but women, people of color, and people of varying class statuses. And though there is now a competitive circuit, there are many who never compete and do it for the experience. I have heard it compared to yoga in terms of its ability to produce a zen-like experience.

But it isn't necessarily a solely individual experience either. In the X Games it will be a team sport pitting a US team against a World team.

Maybe its inclusion in the Games will reinvigorate a more general interest in the sport.

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