A thoughtful piece by Tough Tits Co. founder Bridie Rawson
Bruce and Bridie, The Pass, Byron Bay 2005
We were the generation of opportunity.
No longer limited by our gender, we tagged along with our fathers on surf trips, ski trips, fishing trips, you name it.
In the early 2000’s my poor dad would stand in the whitewash at Middleton, South Australia repetitively pushing his four daughters onto waves. We were as frothy as the waves we rode and would paddle back time and time again begging for more. It was my dad who helped me climb onto a windsurfing board for the first time, my dad who pulled me along on a skateboard, my dad who took the trainer wheels off my bike and pushed me into my first few peddles of freedom.
When I caught the snow bug after our first ski trip to Mount Buller, it was dad and I who chased the snow every year throughout my teenage years. ‘Good ol Bruce’ happily took his snow obsessed daughter on the trips he himself craved.
However, it was only until recently that a thought came to mind, where was my mum in all of this?
Lynne certainly came out into the whitewash on her boogie board (bless her cotton socks) and she joined us on some of the snow trips but surfing and skiing had never been an opportunity for her growing up. Yet what Lynne lacked in knowledge on these sports she wholeheartedly made up for in support. Carting two boys and four girls around to endless sporting commitments, baking cupcakes, washing uniforms, supporting us at every match and every summer day on the beach, was where you would find her. Her love, reassurance and encouragement was unconditional and helped shape my siblings and I into the adults we are today.
As the years rolled on, my curiosity shifted as hormones, boys, alcohol and partying left me losing interest in a lot of these sports. That flame was reignited when I hit my early 20s as I noticed the women around me. These incredible women were doing these sports in a way I’d never seen before. Women brought an elegance and beauty that was inspirational. They took me under their wing and suddenly I was surfing like I’d never surfed before. I was riding park. I was watching the sunset over snow-capped mountains in Kosciusko National Park. I was riding down a mountain surrounded by feminine energy with only the stars and our head torches to guide us.
I watch now as these friends become mothers, all of them glorious in their own right. These women have spent their lives learning from their fathers to ski, skate, ride and now have the ability to pass this knowledge on to the next generation.
And what a generation it will be.
Out in the surf yesterday at Point Roadnight, Victoria I watched a mother ride a wave with a giggling toddler, bundled up in a lifejacket, sitting between her legs. Both had the biggest smiles on their faces as they sped past me towards the beach.
As for my mother’s generation who missed the chance to pass on the knowledge of outdoor sports to their daughters. We instead have the opportunity to pass it to them, to give back to the women who gave us so much.
As my friends become parents, a few have noticed that when a little boy trips or falls the term comes to mind ‘babies bounce’, yet when their daughter stumbles, they can’t help but coddle her.
So, I leave you with this simple reminder, girls bounce too.
For the women who inspire me every day....
Lynne, my sisters and I
Jaicey and Eden
Maeve and Alfie
Birdie and Soko
Alexandra and Luca