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Girls Can’t Surf? Lahinch Begs to Disagree as Screening of Docu-Film and Discussion Explore Gender E

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

A screening of the 2021 film “Girls Can’t Surf” took place in Lahinch Leisure Centre last week, organised by the Green Party’s MEP Grace O’Sullivan, Senator Róisín Garvey & local Councillor and Surfer Liam Grant

In one of the wettest Julys in recent memory, respite from the wind and rain was found at Lahinch Leisure Centre on Friday 28th July for a screening of the 2021 documentary “Girls Can’t Surf”. Despite its provocative title, the film indeed showed a much more positive story of the progression of gender equality within the sport of pro-surfing, with eras of female surfers narrating the story up until the present day. The film highlighted however that it wasn’t until 2019 however that the World Surf League announced equal prize money for men and women’s disciplines – showing how recently the sport has changed. 

The event was organised by Tramore-based MEP Grace O’Sullivan in collaboration with local Green Party reps Cllr. Liam Grant and Senator Róisín Garvey. O’Sullivan is former Irish surf champion and still coaches surfing at weekends during her spare time. 

A strong 50-person crowd gathered to watch the film, which Cllr. Liam Grant had organised to take place in the newly refurbished hall of the leisure centre. 

“I was delighted to show the film here as it is where there once stood a film theatre 30 or 40 years ago – and for the first time we have shown a screening here again. Alan Coyne and all the staff in the Leisure Centre had set up the place fantastically, the room was really transformed to be an excellent viewing space. I’m hoping that there will be more films shown here in the future – it’s a fantastic asset for the locality” Grant shared. 

On the topic of the film, O’Sullivan reflected on her memory of the sport over the course of her life;

“I started surfing as a teenager in Waterford when there were barely any girls partaking in the sport. We’ve now seen that idea totally go out the window nowadays – that “girls can’t surf” –  and I even partook in a feature recently which highlighted many older women who have now taken up the sport. I’m delighted to have been able to bring this inspiring story to the people of West Clare and hopefully educate – and inspire – the next generation of young surfers” O’Sullivan stated. 

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