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Longboarder and Tracks Issue 583 cover-holder, Lucy Small, is leading the campaign Equal Pay for Equal Play. Photo: Georgia Matts

Equal Pay for Equal Play Recognised as finalist in Australian Surfing Awards

Pro Surfer Lucy Small and Tracks writer Kate Allman are up for the Reef Tip Greater Good Award.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

NSW Campaign for gender equality in sport Equal Pay for Equal Play NSW has today been recognised as a finalist in the Australian Surfing Awards, Reef Tip Greater Good award, marking a profound cultural shift in surfing across the country.

The Australian Surfing Awards are an annual event that recognise the achievements of surfers and the industry, including prestigious awards such as Surfer of the Year and inductees into the Surfing Hall of Fame. The Reef Tip Greater Good Award is a person or group who in the past year has given back to Australian surfing through extraordinary results in a charitable, humanitarian, environmental, or philanthropic cause.

Equal Pay for Equal Play NSW is a campaign launched by Sydney duo Lucy Small and Kate Allman after Lucy, a professional longboarder, won a Sydney surfing competition in 2021 and was presented a cheque with less than half the winnings of the men’s division. Lucy took the chance to call out the inequality in her speech that later went viral on social media and made the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. Surfer, lawyer, and Tracks magazine writer Kate Allman caught sight of the video and followed up with Lucy. Kate interviewed her for a story in Tracks Magazine and the partnership was formed.

Lucy_Small
Lucy wants to ensure women’s surfers and other women’s sports get a much better deal when it comes to prize money and funding.

The campaign is calling on the NSW Government to make equal prize money and equal access to facilities a precondition for sports clubs and organisations to receive government grants and funding. They have had local government motions passed around the state as well as motion in both houses of the NSW Parliament. Part of what the campaign calls for has already been established in Victoria, with local councils now required to show equal access for any funding applications for sporting facilities from the Victorian Government.

Equal Pay for Equal Play NSW have kept the issue of gender equality in sport front and centre in the media, with landmark stories such as exposing the reality of unequal sponsorship in surfing, the 50% opportunity for women on the World Surf League Championship Tour. The duo have garnered support across the board of sports, including from World Champions Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore, Chloe Dalton (AFLW), Alicia Eva (AFLW), Kalindi Commerford (Hockey), Matilda McDonell (netball) and Brandon Jack (AFL).

The nomination comes ahead of the launch of the WSL Championship Tour season that will offer 18 places for women and 36 for men.

Lucy Small said:

“It’s an honour to have our campaign recognised by the Australian Surfing Awards in a moment that signals a broad change in culture across the surf industry.

“While we still have so far to go, it’s hard to imagine a campaign that calls for better pay and better opportunities for women in surfing seeing the light of day even five years ago.

“Surfing Australia has embraced the remarkable potential women’s surfing has and it’s very special to be part of the conversation driving this.

Check out how Lucy’s quest for equal pay started.

“We now need to see the World Surf League follow suit and open up the women’s world tour to offer equal opportunity for women at the top level.

“We’re in an exciting time for women’s sport, it feels like we’re about to hit the boom period. There are some organisations that need to keep up, such as FIFA who are set to offer just 14% of the men’s prize money to the women in the World Cup that’s coming to Australia this year.” Lucy said.

Kate Allman said:

“One of the most important things we can do is keep the discussion of gender equality in sport alive in the media, to keep these organisations thinking about how they can better the opportunities for women and how they can ensure that women are equally supported and recognised.

“We’ve had great success in this over the last few years, so we’re waiting for the NSW Government to join us and bring in these changes.

Kate on a Tracks strike mission. (Bali, 2022)

“Driving change requires effort from all angles, so it has been great to have the support of some of Australia’s greatest surfers and athletes as well as journalists, councillors and members of Parliament.

“Getting the nod from Surfing Australia and the Australian Surfing Awards shows that we’re gaining ground and surfing is heading in an exciting direction.

“We still have a huge task on our hands but it feels like we’re edging closer and we’re completely up for the job.” Kate said.

The award night will be held on February 16 on the Gold Coast.

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