Surfing

Wonderful news.  A very big thank you to my two new sponsors Champers Motor Lodge Gisborne and Cape Physio Napier. Thank you for your great support.

 

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Below is a photo of prize giving where I came fourth in the open women division of the New Zealand Longboard competition held at Papamoa, where I rode Rebel sponsored by Queen City Law and Heyhoe Engineering and  Senior the 2nd sponsored by Walsh and Associates Chartered Accountants. Sadly I had to embark upon another battle to gain entry.  When my husband went to enter me for the competition, the entries read "over 40 male only" and "over 50 male only".  We contacted Surfing New Zealand by text and email advising the error.  No response was forthcoming.  After discussions with the sponsor Barrett Homes and also  Papamoa Unlimited, the entry form was corrected deleting  "male only".  It is so tedious and very disappointing that I have to fight for gender equality for every competition that I attend, despite the precedent set at the nationals at Piha.  Surfing New Zealand acknowledged that there has to be gender equality, yet they fail to implement or support gender equality at all competitions.  

The next Surfing New Zealand event is the Raglan Pro sponsored by Ripcurl.  I have been advised by SNZ that there will be an under 20 division for the boys yet not for the girls.  I will not accept gender discrimination and will keep you posted as to progress. The under 20 girls deserve equal recognition. 

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  My wonderful coach Kelly Ryan  

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     My skilled personal trainer Jaspar Vowden

What a terrific start to 2017.  It was an incredible euphoric feeling to be paddling out through the key hole in the over 55 division for the very first time ever at the Surfing New Zealand Nationals  held at Piha.  I have been attending the nationals for seven years. For seven years I have at each nationals requested to surf in my age group, only to be given an emphatic "no".  Finally this year an inalienable right for equality for women surfers has been asserted for both old and young in perpetuity. The effect of this is that SNZ is obligated to follow this precedent for all future events.  There was a last minute battle with SNZ to include the under 14 girls who were, two weeks before the start of the nationals, excluded. What a great turn out there was for the under 14 girls, who only had a few days to prepare for travel, accomodation and every thing else required for the nationals, also for the parents of the girls to make last minute arrangments.   

                                                                                             

Below is a link to a fun little video taken by Warren Buckland of the Hawke's Bay Today.

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/video/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503454&gal_cid=1503454&gallery_id=170931

 

Without prejudice

This years nationals have been truly significant for me for a plethora of reasons.  I first wish to thank my wonderful supportive family for all their love and encouragment throughout the event and year whilst I have been preparing for the nationals. An enormous thank you goes to my phenomenal, professional coach Kelly Ryan who has worked with me all year, in a most skilled and intuitive manner. I wish to extend a massive thank you to  Jaspar Vowden, my personal trainer, for being able to continuously help me progress in strength and fitness. To all my sponsors, especially Queen City Law, Walsh and Associates Chartered Accountants, Heyhoe Engineering, A & M Fencing,  to whom I am immensely grateful, thank you for your enduring support.  

The conditions for the nationals were extremely tricky and dangerous.  The surf was big and the wind was mostly onshore all week.    I am eternally grateful to the lifeguards Phil Wallace and Zen Wallace from the Lion Rock Boardriders Club, who kept me safe at Piha throughout the weeks event.     Below is a photo of the three of us after prize giving.  I took part in four divisions, with the last division being the over 30 Senior Women.   I was thrilled to receive a medal for coming third in this division.  Since turning 50, I have now received 14 trophies and medals.  After returning home from the nationals, I have had to rest.  All the effort and training has been worth it. My new medal is on the shelf above the kitchen sink with the others.  They keep me focussed on aspiring to win many more!!

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                                        Paddling out through key hole  

            

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                            Rebel and I in the over 30 Senior Women    

  

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                                           Phil myself and Zen   

                                         

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            Prize giving where I came 3rd in the over 30 Senior Women

 

Without prejudice 

What a fantastic finish to 2016. Finally, gender equality for competing women surfers, young and old, in the Surfing New Zealand Nationals to be held at Piha in January 2017.  A precedent has been set!  The ISA will be duly notified early next year.  

I was also elated to finish 2 in the open longboard, 3 in the over 50 and 6 in open womens division in the Gisborne Boardriders Club. My coach Kelly Ryan designed a board which he said was perfect for me.  Queen City Law and Heyhoe Engineering sponsored me the specially designed board, and to whom I am extremely grateful. I have named my new board Rebel. Below is a photo of prizegiving in the open longboard division.  

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Unfortunately the ISA have chosen to ignore my request for an undertaking from them to have equal numbers of both boys and girls at the next and future ISA world junior surfing games.  The battle for gender equality accordingly continues.  As sure as night follows day, there will be gender equality.  I will keep you posted as to progress.  

 

The SNZ circuit has come to an end for 2016, with the last event being the Backdoor Bay Bash which was held at Waimarama and Te Awanga.  I was disappointed to see an under 14 boys only division.  Backdoor have assured me that all future events will be gender equal, thus obviating the necessity of filing  a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.   I am happy to have finished 8 in the open womens division. Below is a photo of Senior the second, sponsored by Walsh and Associates, and I in the semi final of the open womens at Te Awanga. 

 

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Rocket, sponsored by Queen City Law and I catching fun winter waves at Te Awanga.  I have not had a reply from the ISA yet and am expecting same within the next two weeks.  At present I am working on my new song called Gender Equality, which has a great, fast rythm.  

 

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I wish to  thank my fantastic sponsor Queen City Law for their generous help for the new surfing year which starts with the nationals back at Piha in January 2017. I am training exceptionally hard as  this is a momentous event.  It will be the first nationals where women can surf in their age division. I will be surfing  in the over 55 division and will be a Kahuna!   I also wish to thank my excellent surfing coach Kelly Ryan for helping me improve my surfing.  Another thank you also to my wonderful personal trainer Jaspar Vowden for his skill in improving my strength and fitness.  

Without prejudice: I was surprised and disappointed to learn that whilst the International Surfing Association has acknowledged and is supportive about increasing female participation at the ISA events, (which currently is not equal, for example the under 16 criteria for the ISA junior surfing games is four for the boys and only two for the girls, which in my opinion constitutes gender discrimination) I am told by the ISA that many factors need to be taken into account before such changes can be implemented.  I am of the view that time has well and truly lapsed and that the moment is NOW.  I will keep you posted on developments.

 

I have had confirmation from Surfing New Zealand that they will follow the International Surfing Association guidelines relative to age and gender, which means that from now on, to eternity,  men and women  can surf in their age division from the age of 35.  I am so excited about competing in the over 55 division at the next Nationals.  

 

   

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The above photos are of Rocket and I participating in the open women division in the Rip Curl Pro held at Manu Bay, Raglan.  I am now currently ranked 9th in the open women division.

 

The Gisborne Boardriders Club held their second competition in big glassy conditions.  It is so great to be able to surf in the over 50 as well as the other divisions.  The over 50 and longboard divisions were held at Midway Pipe with the open women and over 60 being held at Roberts Road.  My current ranking is as follows, open women 3rd, open longboard 2nd and over 50, 5th.  Thank you again to the Gisborne Boardriders Club for an excellent comp.

We have just returned from the Rip Curl Pro held at Manu Bay, Raglan.  It was fantastic to see a good number of young girls entering the comp.  Sadly for the young girls there was no under 20 division for the girls as there was for the boys who had their own under 20 division.  The under 20 girls had to surf in the open womens division.  This is both age and gender discrimination.

Surfing New Zealand have advised me that they are holding a meeting on the 28 of this month.  I am awaiting the outcome of the meeting relative to the International Surfing Association age and gender guidelines.

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Sunday the 21 February 2016 was a truely momentous day in the history of Surfing New Zealand, and it is a day that I will never forget.  The 2016 Coast Papamoa Surfing New Zealand Longboard and SUP Open were on.  See the Bay of Plenty Times Monday 22 February 2016. http://m.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11593457

There were men's open Longboard, womens open Longboard, over 40 Longboard and over 50  Longboard.  I put my name forward to enter both the open women and over 50 Longboard divisions, well within the specified time frame.  By text Surfing New Zealand confirmed to me that I had been entered in the over 50 division.   I was so  excited about this competition and so looking forward to it.  Consequently when we arrived at Papamoa I was devastated to see that my name had been omitted from the over 50 division and I was advised that there was no room for me.   I have never been one to give up.  I advised Surfing New Zealand that I had it in writing that I had been entered.  After a lenghty wait I was advised that I could enter.  I felt so excited paddling out in my first ever over 50 division in New Zealand.  

alt Marguerite surfing in over 50 division Papamoa 

Celebrations!  The International Surfing Association have confirmed to me that the older age divisions are NOT gender specific, which means that women ARE allowed to compete amongst the men. We are off to Papamoa this weekend for the Surfing New Zealand longboard competition.  Mr. Ben Kennings of Surfing New Zealand has confirmed that I can surf in the over 50 division at Papamoa.  He has also confirmed that I can surf in my age division (over 55) in the nationals next year.  So women surfers all over New Zealand, come and join me !  There is an age division for you.

What a momentous day!  I rode my first waves on my sup.  I have named my sup Majestic.

I have come home from the SNZ nationals held in Dunedin with two new medals!  I wish to thank my incredible sponsors and all the people of Hawkes Bay who made it possible for me to travel to Dunedin.  I also wish to thank my wonderful family for all their support and patience. 

I competed in three divisions being the open women shortboard, the open women longboard and the senior women which was women over 30.  The surf at St. Clair was big for most of the competition, often making for extremely dangerous conditions on the full tide.  The Sunday we arrived a surfer had to be rescued from St. Clair.  In the over 30 division we were put out on the full tide.  Trying to get out I got washed off the rocks at the wall and a lifeguard who was watching looked down over the wall and yelled out to me to enter by the swimming pool.  As I ran to the swimming pool tears poured down my cheeks but I was determined to try again.  The lifeguard lifted me over the barrier to my husband and son on the otherside who helped me over the rocks and finally to launch into the water with 30 seconds to go before the start of the final.  My husband was also nearly washed into the ocean.  Despite some terrifying moments it was a great competition.  Whilst I always want to win I am just so grateful to still be able to compete at these events.

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The weekend following the nationals, there was a competition being held in Gisborne by the Gisborne boardriders club.  I entered the open women shortboard, longboard and the over 50. I was the only woman in the over 50 and I was very happy to beat one of my fellow competitors.  It was a great competition and I wish to thank Gisborne boardriders club for a great gender equal competition. 

I wish to thank all the following great photographers, Jeremy Evans, Cody Keepa, my husband Alan and my sons Charles, Alan and Christopher.  

A very big thank you to Queen City Law, Walsh and Associates, The Bluewater Hotel,Heyhoe Engineering, A & M Fencing, The Decking Specialist, Napier Signs, Speights Ale House  and Raglan Palm Beach Motel for their much appreciated support.

I was a lawyer and a private pilot and retirement never entered my mind, however one day after a trial in Auckland I got struck down.  I was on my death bed and arranged my funeral.  God spared me.  I was then diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and ten years later I still have this wretched illness which means that I cannot practice law any more nor fly an aeroplane.  I also spend many hours of each day resting in bed, and sometimes I have to stay in bed for a few days at a time.  Instead of being crushed by despair and hopelessness I decided to pick up my 30 year old surfboard Sergeant Major and go surfing.  Surfing keeps me going with continuous new challenges and adventures.  If your life has been turned upside down too like mine, remember that you can get through any adversity facing you.  Each morning you wake up, just be so grateful to God to be alive and the day will be beautiful for you. With self belief, courage and determination you can get through each day.  With self belief, courage and determination you can reach out for new challenges and goals which will fill your every day with wild excitement.   You can achieve your dreams just as I have and am still doing.

Keep surfing!  Keep challenging yourself!

Marguerite de Savoye Vujcich B.A. LL.B  The surfing lawyer

    

 

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Here’s to catching the perfect wave.

Marguerite

 

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