Linda Sharp: The Trailblazing Surfer In A Male-Dominated Scenario

Linda Sharp_ The pioneer woman surfer in a sea of men

Linda Sharp began her career in 1967 as a surfer, the first woman surfer in Wales to participate in the sport throughout the year. She began her career at the tender age of 15 at “Aberavon in Neath Port Talbot.”

Her career spanned over 20 years, and during that period, she won Welsh, British and European titles in surfing. Today, it is hard to believe that she did not have any proper costume when she began in 1967. She had to wear a rugby shirt, rubber gloves, plimsolls and cut-off jeans. She had to continue this way till the Christmas of 1968.

Her agony to get the perfect wetsuit did not end when she found a shop selling wetsuits for women. She had to pick a “beaver-tail” style wetsuit for surfing. 

By default, she became the winner of the Welsh championship of women’s. She even competed and defeated men in surfing. Linda said, “I grew up as one of the boys, then quickly learnt that I could paddle faster than most of them. I could surf as good as any of them in the water.”

To begin her journey in surfing, she had to use the board of her one lifeguard colleague. But soon, she became desperate to get her board, and for the same, she sold her bike.

Linda’s surfing board was 9 feet long, and she had to walk for 30 minutes with it to reach the beach every day. Later, her dad made wheels for the surfing board.

Linda Sharp had her first appearance in the competition in 1975. She found out the Welsh Nationals were being held at her beach. Being the only woman participant in the competition, she won the women’s title by default. However, she continued there and went on surfing against the boys until she was not allowed anymore in the semifinals. 

The organizers did not allow her to go beyond the semis as the selection for the European team was going on.

She also took part in the Women’s International Surfing Association championship after bagging her first European title. The Women’s International Surfing Association even invited her to join them, but she could not because of a lack of funding.

Linda worked as a PE teacher and continued occasional surfing until 1996. But today, she is a patient with arthritis, and her hip replacement does not allow her to be back in sports. 

Also Read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *