Calls to honour one of North Coast's best surfers
POUND for pound Pauline Menczer is arguably one of the best surfers in the Byron Shire.
With a record of winning 20 major surf events, including the 1988 World Women's Amateur Championship, 1993 World Women's Surf Championship and WQS champion in 2002, you'd think she would be a household name.
But that's not the case.
All Pauline's wins were achieved without major sponsorships and while battling bouts of crippling rheumatoid arthritis.
Pauline's name is also absent from the Honour Roll in Surf Alley in Byron Bay and local artist and fellow surfer Holly English has kicked off a campaign to get some overdue recognition for her surfing buddy.
Pauline has lived in Byron Shire since 1992 but admitted she was often absent for long periods on the tour.
"I never put myself out there either but it would be nice to be invited to local events and to have my name on the wall," she said.
"I would really like to see the list levelled up and updated with the inclusion of more women.
"Names like Crystal Vale, Jodie Cooper and Lauren Hill come to mind. I'm sure there are others."
During her career Pauline never gained a big sponsorship with a major surf label, as the diminutive brunette did not have the requisite "blonde surfy chick look" to make her marketable.
This is something that irks friend Holly.
She sees the lack of recognition for female surfers such as Pauline as part of a wider problem for young athletes.
"Young women surfers these days seem to feel compelled to play into social/physical/sexual stereotype," Holly said.
"The perception is that to get anywhere in women's surfing you have to wear a bikini and look slutty with the surfboards."
Regardless of what gender politics may be at play, Pauline has the support and admiration of local surfing legend Danny Wills, among others.
Danny was a competitor on the World Tour at the same time as Pauline.
"Like a lot of women during that period, Pauline did it tough," he said.
"The calibre of her surfing was amazing, she was an animal in the surf, charging harder than a lot of the guys.
"Purely on being world champ in 1993 is enough for her to be recognised on the Roll of Honour."