Water Sports

Robin Pacquing and her Great Lakes surf culture

For Patagonia, Stephanie Vermillion wrote about surfer Robin Pacquing and her quest to create a “new surf culture” for herself after feeling left out of the scene.

Pacquing, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, had long adored the world of surfing. She binge-watched Baywatch and pored over surf magazines as a teen. But, like most media consumed during her childhood, Pacquing never felt represented. “I’m short, stout, brown, not tall or blonde—that’s just my genetics,” she said. But Pacquing kept on surfing, and her heritage became her reason to paddle out. “I knew surfing had Indigenous roots with Hawaiians and islanders,” she said. “While I’m not from the Philippines—I was born and raised in Canada—my roots are there. I felt like that was my only in, and that’s why [surfing] felt OK.”

I’m glad Pacquing could create her own space away from the white-centric, thin-with-abs-centric side of surfing.

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