Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Women Making Waves 2016

Nine Women Shaping Our Seas and Surfing

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Just as the ninth wave in a set is said to be larger and more powerful than the rest, the following nine dynamic women have had a powerful impact on the life of our oceans and the sport of surfing. 

Scientists, surfers, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, and more - they all share a passion for the world around them and a desire to make it better.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are excited about what these women have accomplished and believe that you will be, too.   
Catherine Barrett is Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker's Deputy Director of Policy and advises on energy and the environment. She was Oceans Counsel for the Majority Staff of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, advising on ocean policy. She has been involved in coastal management, ecosystems, marine habitat, water quality, weather, and oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her wide experience puts attorney Barrett in the middle of this century's key environmental issues from global warming to rising sea levels and sustainability.

Linda Benson, surfing pioneer and movie stunt double, has been called the "Godmother of female surfing." A star at age 15, winning the 1959 Makaha International Championships, Benson  paved the way for women surfers who followed. The general public may not have known her name yet, but they knew her surfing - as the stunt double in the wildly popular Gidget films that made every teen want to grab a surfboard. A life-long advocate for surfing, Benson says it's "self-expression. Surfers use the waves as our canvas and the board as our pen."    

Heather Brown, internationally-acclaimed artist, utilizes intaglio printmaking, silk screening, lino cuts, woodcuts and etchings. Working as a boat captain and dive master to put herself through art school at the University of Hawaii, Brown captures the true essence of the world's most beautiful beaches and surf breaks. With galleries in Hawaii and Japan, she has created art for Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, developed a clothing line for Rip Curl, and contributes to many charities. She says, "I just want to make art that brings smiles to people's faces and aloha to their hearts."

Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer, author, foundation director, has inspired millions. After losing her left arm to a tiger shark at the age of thirteen, one month later she was back in the water and two years later won her first national title. Her bestselling autobiography Soul Surfer became a hit movie. Hamilton reaches out to amputees and youth through her foundation Friends of Bethany. Her new film Surfs Like A Girl will be released in 2017. Hamilton says her passion for surfing is "a gift from God" and it compels her to "surf against all odds."  

Dr. Melanie McField, Director, Healthy Reefs Initiative, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, generates user-friendly tools to measure, track and report on the health of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem. McField is a marine biologist and former Peace Corps volunteer, consultant to the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, and Director of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People. An author and authority on coral reefs, she has been on TV's Today Show, National Geographic, and Animal Planet. 

Trish Meyler, Co-founder, BOGA Paddle & Surf Co., is growing the sport of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and adding a new twist to it - yoga. Along with selling boards and equipment and licensing yoga instructors and floating studios, she leads people on tours to "explore the waterways of the world on our boards" to "share the SUP stoke and Aloha with our families and community." Meyler has launched studios around the globe and wants people to experience the joys of yoga in an ocean setting, while connecting with others.  

Julie Packard, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is an international leader in ocean conservation and advocate for science-based policies that protect marine ecosystems and sea life. A marine biologist, Packard has built the aquarium into one of the world's top aquariums and initiated its Seawatch Program that supports sustainable fishing practices and guides consumers in environmentally-responsible food choices. Inspired by Monterey Bay, Packard wants to introduce people to "the incredible ocean life just off our coast and in the vast ocean beyond."   

Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a scientist, astronaut and educator. The first US woman to walk in space, Sullivan's reach extends from the depths of the sea to outer space. She's done it all from satellite remote sensing and weather forecasting to mapping and charting the oceans. She co-chairs the committee that's building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems to provide environmental data for society's needs.

Ashley Lloyd Thompson, surfer, board shaper, musician, is one of the few women in the male-dominated field of board shaping. Putting her passion for surfing and for life into every custom board she makes, Thompson is known for her colorful creations - each one a unique piece of art. She says, "shaping is like a wave, it's always evolving." Along with her loyal following, Thompson made a splash with Oprah Winfrey and was featured in her O magazine. 

Approaching the world from different vantage points, each of these nine women is committed to making a difference and to safeguarding the ocean environment and mankind's enjoyment of it. 

To meet the 2017 Women Making Waves, click on 2017.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given. 

1 comment:

  1. Brava! Love reading about women who make waves. Thank you, SurfWriter Girls! Happy World Environment Day (Sunday, June 5).