Surfer Girls in the New World Order

Surfer Girls in the New World Order

Book Pages: 292 Illustrations: 67 b&w illustrations Published: September 2010

Author: Krista Comer

Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Geography

In Surfer Girls in the New World Order, Krista Comer explores surfing as a local and global subculture, looking at how the culture of surfing has affected and been affected by girls, from baby boomers to members of Generation Y. Her analysis encompasses the dynamics of international surf tourism in Sayulita, Mexico, where foreign women, mostly middle-class Americans, learn to ride the waves at a premier surf camp and local women work as manicurists, maids, waitresses, and store clerks in the burgeoning tourist economy. In recent years, surfistas, Mexican women and girl surfers, have been drawn to the Pacific coastal town’s clean reef-breaking waves. Comer discusses a write-in candidate for mayor of San Diego, whose political activism grew out of surfing and a desire to protect the threatened ecosystems of surf spots; the owners of the girl-focused Paradise Surf Shop in Santa Cruz and Surf Diva in San Diego; and the observant Muslim woman who started a business in her Huntington Beach home, selling swimsuits that fully cover the body and head. Comer also examines the Roxy Girl series of novels sponsored by the surfwear company Quiksilver, the biography of the champion surfer Lisa Andersen, the Gidget novels and films, the movie Blue Crush, and the book Surf Diva: A Girl’s Guide to Getting Good Waves. She develops the concept of “girl localism” to argue that the experience of fighting for waves and respect in male-majority surf breaks, along with advocating for the health and sustainable development of coastal towns and waterways, has politicized surfer girls around the world.


Surfer Girls in the New World Order is readable and engaging, making it broadly accessible for undergraduates and a wider readership. It is also useful for interested cultural studies and sports scholars. . . . Surfer Girls in the New World Order is based on engaging, enlightening and valuable research. As a feminist and a surfer, I am glad of the contribution it makes to the literature.” — Georgina Roy, Sociology of Sport Journal

“Comer’s book is a must read for scholars interested in the complexities of gender, race, culture, and globalization in sports. This is certain to be a generative study of surfing, one attentive to the possibilities and limits of women’s surfing as a globalized, ecofeminist, girl-powered endeavor.” — Brett Mizelle, Southern California Quarterly

Surfer girls in the new world order is clearly a product of passion. The enthusiasm and energy Krista Comer displays for this research, for women’s surfing and for the potential she sees for the development of feminist ways of knowing and politics through both local and global surfing cultural experiences, are both obvious and infectious. In particular, it is the discussions and conversations that Comer has spent so much time in engaging in with women in and around the surfing culture that contribute the most to the effectiveness of this book, and which distinguish it in important ways from other work in this area.” — Rebecca Olive, Gender, Place & Culture

“Immersing herself in girl surf culture, Comer has constructed an accessible body of research that, while very readable, offers a fiercely intelligent commentary. . . . Surfer Girls in the New World Order is thorough and acute; Comer situates her argument in the lived experiences of surfer girls and women while also drawing important connections to surfing’s place in the broader context of social and economic ideologies.” — Alicia Sowisdral, Elevate Difference

“Krista Comer’s Surfer Girls in the New World Order exemplifies the most prominent theoretical trends that are transforming contemporary western studies. . . . Challenging Baywatch stereotypes, Comer reinterprets surf culture as resolutely, albeit imperfectly, political, transnational, environmentalist, multiculturalist, and feminist. With these bold reinterpretations, Comer encourages serious reconsideration of—if not outright debate about—surf culture’s larger cultural and political significance.” — Robert Bennett, Western American Literature

“This fabulous book on women and the sport of surfing is the result of more than a decade of field research in multiple locations around the globe. . . . She expertly navigates the waves of feminism. . . . Analysis of popular culture rounds out this lovely book. . . . Highly recommended.” — A. N. Valdivia, Choice

“This is a book that you wish you wrote... and not just because it is winning awards (notably, the Western Literature Association's Thomas J. Lyon Book Award), but because its theoretical sophistication blends perfectly with attentive close readings in ways that all scholars strive for.” — Simon C. Estok, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Surfer Girls in the New World Order is fantastic. The only book that I know of to address girls’ and women’s surfing from an analytical perspective, it opens into provocative questions about globalization and its discontents, ‘ecotourism’ and the surf safari, and conflicting paradigms of gender, economics, race, and culture.” — Leslie Heywood, author of Pretty Good for a Girl: An Athlete’s Story

“Surfer Girls in the New World Order is a timely, deftly organized, and compellingly readable study that is at once participatory, original, informed, intellectually sexy, and new.” — Rob Wilson, author of Reimagining the American Pacific: From South Pacific to Bamboo Ridge and Beyond


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Krista Comer is an Associate Professor of English at Rice University. She is the author of Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Geography in Contemporary Women’s Writing.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Critical Localisms in a Globalized World 1

Part I. California Goes Global

1. Californians in Diaspora: The Making of a Local/Global Subculture 35

2. Wanting to Be Lisa: The Surfer Girl Comes of Age 76

Part II. Globalization from Below

3. The Politics of Play: Tourism, Ecofeminism, and Surfari in Mexico 117

4. Surf Shops and the Transfer of Girl Localist Knowledge 162

5. Surfing the New World Order: What Is Next? 205

Notes 231

Bibliography 259

Index 273
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4805-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4789-7
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