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
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.