Hawaii & Alaska
DP Surf / SURF HEADLINES

HI - History of Women's Surfing Set Straight: New Book Dives Deep into Seldom-Documented History

In March of 1975, the first women’s “Expression Session” was held at Rocky Point on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The humble beginnings of the modern pro movement, the event wasn’t like a normal surf contest.

In March of 1975, the first women’s “Expression Session” was held at Rocky Point on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The humble beginnings of the modern pro movement, the event wasn’t like a normal surf contest. There were no judges, and photographers were invited to come and document the action in hopes of garnering exposure for these pioneering women.

But, true to the nature of surfing at the time, when the day of the event came, hardly any of the photographers showed up—thus missing the opportunity to document an important moment in the evolution of the sport.

Entrant Patti Paniccia—one of the key players in launching a professional tour for women—recalls being told by a photographer that “the magazines won’t buy photos of women, so we can’t afford to spend time and film money shooting you.”

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin ran an article about the Expression Session that included a photo, the caption of which read: “Girls like Patti Paniccia and Sally Prange … are seeking to change the image that women surfers are curiosities … endowed with too many male hormones.”

Read more.