Michael Sam, Ian Thorpe, Amelie Mauresmo, Tom Daley, Megan Rapinoe… the list of professional, out athletes keeps growing, but that still doesn’t mean it’s always easy to be openly gay in sport. Even for amateurs it can be a challenge, even in sports that are considered to be more open-minded and laid back, like surfing.
Thomas Castets, founder of GaySurfers.net, tackled the subject of homophobia in the surf world with his recent, award-winning documentary Out in the Line-Up. He also asked members of the world’s leading online LGBT surfing community for suggestions to improve this situation. “After running a survey on GaySurfers.net ,” said Castets, “we found that gay surfers really wanted us to create surf trips with other gay surfers. So we partnered with Brazil Ecojourneys to organise a week of surfing, relaxing and yoga in the gorgeous town of Praia do Rosa in South Brazil. After a successful first run last year, we knew we had to do it again in 2014.”
Brazil, home to the world’s biggest Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, is also home to some of the best waves in the world, making it the perfect destination for an LGBT surf trip. The LGBT-owned and operated Brazil Ecojourneys launched the first edition with GaySurfers in October, 2013, with participants flying in from Canada, USA and Argentina.
“We are all quite aware of the prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people in sports, but I hadn’t necessarily considered surfing as one of the last “bastions” of homophobia. Watching Out in the Line-Up was a real eye-opener, which inspired our company to reach out and partner with GaySurfers,” said Marta Dalla Chiesa of Brazil Ecojourneys. “We organised the first-ever LGBT Surf Camp in Brazil last year and it was totally amazing. Besides helping fund the documentary, it showed us that there are a lot of people out there who would like to be surfing but are holding back because of homophobia they’ve encountered. Surfing amongst friends allows them to live their dream, and it is so much more fun!”
The camp will run from October 25- November 1, 2014 in Santa Catarina, South Brazil.
Out in the Line-Up is now playing at select film festivals around the world, or is available for purchase on DVD.