Cronulla women surfers were ahead of their time

The Kurranulla Wahinis were a group of women surfers who were years ahead of their time.

They wanted to be taken seriously and obtain sponsorship for their competition with other all-women clubs, but were treated "as a joke" by many male surfers and in the wider community.

The club lasted less than two years, but gave rise to an iconic Cronulla surfing photo, taken by Bob Weeks.

The Leader reported the demise of the club in 1968, one year and nine months after it was formed.

Sylvia Hoogeveen, one of the founding members, said the Kurranulla Wahinis, along with other all-girl clubs, were "taboo...because we are girls".

"The public thought it was just a joke.

"If only we had had enough money, we could have killed 'em.

"We tried to get surf clubs behind us but they just wouldn't back us.

"We even offered to pay for the use of clubs and equipment, but they couldn't make out what we were getting at."

Sylvia said, at its peak, the club had 23 members, of whom 11 were top board riders in NSW.

"Lyn Stubbins, who was a member, is the NSW champion and second in Australia," she said.

"The club gave girls a chance to learn board riding."

Other female surfing groups at Coogee, Manly and Narrabeen suffered the same fate.


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