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New Book 'Women on Waves' Chronicles 200 Years of Breakthrough Achievements

Simon and Schuster

A new book takes a look back at the history of surfing and the role of women in the sport—just in time for surfing's debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

Author and president of the California Surf Museum, Jim Kempton wrote a recently released book called "Women on Waves, A Cultural History of Surfing: From Ancient Goddesses and Hawaiian Queens to Malibu Movie Stars and Millennial Champions."

The Conversation spoke with Kempton about the impetus for writing his book and his writing journey.

"The whole point of me writing the book was to give these women their due. Over the last 70 years since sort of modern surfing has come into being, women have had the short shrift," Kempton said. "They've had to struggle to compete and to just be accepted."

One big step forward: Kempton said the World Surf League was one of the very first sports in the world to give women equal pay.

"There's a long ways to go but now that that is really making progress, I just feel like it's a great time to celebrate all these amazing women from the 1600s to the 1920s, to the 1950s and 1960s, to today," he said.

Kempton said a number of book signing events are planned for November when he will be on the islands.

This segment aired on The Conversation on July 8, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
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