Surfing is not just for the young and fit. A new documentary showcases the stories of older women who took up surfing later in life and found a sense of community, belonging and purpose.
The film, Taking Off: Tales of Older Women Who Surf, features women aged from 59 to 72 who overcame various challenges and stereotypes to pursue their passion for surfing. It premiers this weekend on the Gold Coast, Australia, where the women are based.
One of them is Margaret “Marg” Cummins, who caught her first wave at 70. She said she was discouraged from surfing as a girl growing up in Sydney. “If you went out surfing as a girl, that was just an absolute no, no,” she said.
But a chance invitation to join a female surfing group changed her life. “My takeaway from surfing is no longer being invisible as an older woman,” she said. “It’s hard to explain but there’s just a sense of community and belonging … accepting one another for who you are, and not what you’ve done in life.”
The documentary makers, Jennifer Jefferies and Alice MacKinnon, are also passionate surfers who started in their 50s. They said they wanted to give those over 55 a voice and a visible place in the world surfing line-up.
“This film does more than tell stories about surfing … surfing becomes a metaphor about what’s possible for women as they age,” Jennifer said.
The film also explores the benefits of surfing for physical and mental health, as well as the environmental issues facing the oceans. The women said surfing has given them a new perspective on life and nature.
“I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself,” Marg said. “I feel like I’m part of the ocean.”
The film has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It has been praised for its inspiring and empowering message, as well as its stunning cinematography and soundtrack.
The film is part of a growing trend of documentaries that celebrate older women who ride waves. Other examples include Surfing with Sally, which follows an 81-year-old surfer in California, and She Surf, which showcases female surfers from around the world.
The film’s tagline is: “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.” The women hope their stories will inspire others to try something new and find joy in the water.
- Taking Off: Tales of Older Women Who Surf | The Weekend Edition | May 19, 2023
- Surfing documentary celebrates older women who ride waves | Gold Coast Bulletin | May 20, 2023
- How surfing changed these women’s lives | SBS News | May 21, 2023