GOOD

Professional Surfer Morgan Sliff Makes Waves in Male-Dominated Waters

She’s advocating for more equality in the sport for female surfers.

Nestled in a cozy café in Hermosa Beach, California, professional surfer Morgan Sliff is just a few days shy of completing 1,000 consecutive days of surfing.

Over coffee and a veggie sandwich, she’s eager to share stories of the struggles and triumphs women face on the quest for “stoke” (a term surfers use to express their passion for the sport) — from the over-sexualized images of female surfers in magazines in an already male-dominated sport, to the unexpected strength that can be found within the sisterhood of female surfers.


She recalls a particular surf session in which her determination was tested when she was the only woman among dozens of men in the water.

“I look around and there are thirty guys out there, and I don’t see one girl,” she recalls. “Some guy starts paddling in front of me for a wave and I have priority, [but] he’s not even thinking that I can catch it because I’m a girl.”

She explains that she has found herself in that frustrating situation so many times that it hardly even bothers her anymore. Her advice for female surfers in the same spot?

“Expect to have to stand your ground, stand up for yourself, and demand respect,” she says.

Photo by Paul Roustan.

Despite the abundance of sexist advertisements in the surf industry and the handful of men who claim waves that are not their own, female surfers celebrate their place in the lineup. Rather than focusing on horror stories of gender inequality and mistreatment of women in the surf, Sliff reveals an uplifting theme in the surfing world: the sisterhood of female surfers.

She loves to see a lineup sprinkled with fellow strong, female surfers.

“You see girls out there [and] you feel the comradery, so it’s exciting to see them in the water, and to just look over and be like, ‘I got you, sister,’” says Sliff.

Even in the competitive division, rather than tearing down other female surfers, Sliff celebrates unique, feminine surf styles and hopes to soon see larger audiences at women’s competitions. “There are so many amazing, talented women surfers out there, and let’s face it, we all want to watch girls surf … Girls have this really beautiful fluidity,” she says.

In fact, Sliff fell in love with surfing after watching other women in the water. She named her grandmother, godmother, and the women from the movie “Blue Crush” as her biggest influences in surfing. As a child, she looked up to Keala Kennelly, Layne Beachley, Rochelle Ballard, and Kassia Meader, all of whom she describes as “really powerful women who inspired [her] from a young age.”

While at times it may seem as though a “no girls allowed” sign is planted on the shore, there is a wide-open opportunity to create a positive community of supportive, powerful women surfers in this male-dominated sport.

Sliff suggests female surfers look for other women out in the lineup and strike up a conversation. Perhaps hinting at our chat in the café, she adds with a smile: “A conversation never hurts.”

Sports

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

Cancer is still the second leading cause of death after heart disease for both men and women. The American Cancer Society predicts that 2020 will bring almost 1.8 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths, but there's also some good news. The American Cancer Society recently published a report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians stating the U.S. cancer death rates experienced the largest-single year decline ever reported.

Between 2016 and 2017, cancer death rates fell by 2.2%. While cancer death rates have been steadily falling over the past three decades, it's normally by 1.5% a year. Cancer death rates have dropped by 29% since 1991, which means that there have been 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths in the past three decades than there would have been if the mortality rate had remained constant.

Keep Reading
Health

In order to celebrate the New York Public Library's 125th anniversary, the library announced a list of the top 10 most checked out books in the library's history. The list, which took six months to compile, was determined by a team of experts who looked at the "historic checkout and circulation data" for all formats of the book. Ezra Jack Keats's "The Snow Day" tops the list, having been checked out 485,583 times through June 2019. While many children's books topped the top 10 list, the number one choice is significant because the main character of the story is black. "It's even more amazing that the top-ranked book is a book that has that element of diversity," New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx said.

Keep Reading
Design