let me sea

HER PAS­SION FOR ART WAS WHAT FIRST DREW NEW ZEALAND-BORN ARTIST TRACY NAUGHTON EX­PLORE THE WORLD OF WOMEN’S SURF­ING. X

Surf Girl - - Instagram - pho­tos TRACY NAUGHTON

Be­ing im­mersed in the world of women’s surf­ing came nat­u­rally to Tracy when she set­tled on Aus­tralia’s Sun­shine Coast. Ini­tially look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion, she bus­ied her­self by pho­tograph­ing the Noosa Fes­ti­val of Surf­ing – the world’s largest long­board­ing event. Pay­ing at­ten­tion to women’s surf in par­tic­u­lar was a nat­u­ral step, she said: “The girls who were com­pet­ing stood out to me straight away as their style and grace ap­pealed to my artist’s eye.”

“I de­cided to fo­cus my at­ten­tion on women’s surf­ing from this view point, as I found it so al­lur­ing – the breath­tak­ing beauty of our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment com­bined with skill and el­e­gance of these tal­ented ladies. The el­e­ments com­ple­mented each other in a way I wanted to cap­ture, which was in a style that didn’t fo­cus on tiny biki­nis or body parts – it was about the whole im­age as art­work.”

With the ad­di­tion of the Lady Log­gers Pro this year, and a shift in the world move­ment of women’s rights (in­clud­ing a dis­cre­tion in­struc­tion for cin­e­matog­ra­phers in the WSL

to be dis­creet when shoot­ing women’s surf­ing), it seemed like the per­fect time to launch an all fe­male surf art show. An event run by women with a fo­cus on fe­male surf­ing, ‘She to Sea’ was born. Tracy in­vited six other fe­male artists and pho­tog­ra­phers mak­ing waves in the surf art world, to be a part of the in­au­gu­ral art event.

Noosa Fes­ti­val jumped on board with the idea from the start, bring­ing in Noosa’s Halse Lodge to host the event. This iconic 1880s fully re­stored Queens­lan­der was the per­fect home to show­case the art­works. Each artist brought their own style to the show and the night was an enor­mous suc­cess – with the room be­ing jam-packed for 2 hours solid, be­fore pe­ter­ing out into a com­fort­able af­ter­glow.

The group of women brought to­gether were an eclec­tic mix, and the level of sup­port each artist brought to the group made it a truly mem­o­rable event. Tracy com­mented: “I am a strong be­liever in women sup­port­ing other women, build­ing them up in­stead of tear­ing them down.

The sense that we are stronger to­gether is a feel­ing that runs deep.” The friend­ships and con­nec­tions made be­tween the ladies was an added re­ward. Artists Marnie Mo­rat, Amanda David­son, Jo Breb­ner and Beck Payne, as well as in­ter­na­tional artists Elena Grib from Por­tu­gal and Ka­rina Rozunko from Cal­i­for­nia, made the night an amaz­ing suc­cess.

“It re­ally was a team ef­fort and I couldn’t be hap­pier with how it turned out.” Tracy re­flects. “I was out shoot­ing ev­ery spare minute I could get this year. I wanted to be in the right place at the right time – to catch those amaz­ing mo­ments. The swell turned on for the ma­jor­ity of the fes­ti­val, which brought all the com­peti­tors, not to men­tion half the free surf­ing com­mu­nity, to the points in Noosa. One par­tic­u­lar evening early on in the fes­ti­val, there were the most amaz­ing peel­ing waves at Tea Tree with around 30 of some of the world’s top long­board­ers rid­ing them un­der a sky that lit up like an oil paint­ing. It was like a dream shoot.”

“I know peo­ple ques­tion why a non-surfer spends her days cap­tur­ing this beau­ti­ful sport, but it’s ac­tu­ally mes­meris­ing and you can’t help but be­come ad­dicted to catch­ing the per­fect mo­ment. It’s about the art of it for me, but I also love the cul­ture and peo­ple in surf­ing – the friend­ships and ca­ma­raderie that is found through a shared love of this world.” We couldn’t agree more Tracy.

Ka­rina Rozunko

Honolua Blom­field

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