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All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

- JRR Tolkien


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Athletes & Explorers

Nov 20, 2018

A New Landmark for Indian Women: Siddhi Manerikar Climbs Samsara

Arguably the hardest sport route ever climbed by a female climber in the Indian community, Siddhi Manerikar has set the bar higher for her peers by climbing a 5:13b/8a route in Badami.

Note: As there are not any records, it’s difficult to validate that Siddhi Manerikar has broken a World Record for Indian Female Climbers. However, The Outdoor Journal is not aware of another Indian Women who has matched this feat.

Siddhi Manerikar started climbing when she was in the 8th grade. There was a 43-foot high climbing wall in her school that she spent two hours a day training on.  Last week, Siddhi Manerikar redpointed Samsara, a 5:13b/8a route in Badami.

Siddhi has raised the bar and showed what is possible for those willing to push further. The Outdoor Journal caught her to talk about climbing Samsara, the process and the inspiration behind it.

Why Samsara?

“It wasn’t really a project or something specific that I had in mind. I just happened to give it a shot while I was there. I was a participant in Badami Training Camp back in 2010: an event for national climbers before being picked for the Asian Youth Championships. Between 2010 and 2013, I went to Badami almost every year and worked on some relatively easy routes. One of the higher grade routes, called Ganesha, had been attempted mostly by men. Up until then, I hadn’t really tried any 8a routes.

This year I decided to train in Badami. It has been four years since my last visit. I wasn’t really satisfied with my performance and felt that it had deteriorated last year and so I had a lot to catch up to. The first two days I climbed easy routes, when some of my friends asked me to try Samsara.

“I returned and placed my focus entirely on Samsara”  

Dhaval Sharma, another climber from Pune who had recently sent Samsara asked me to give it a push. He said that I had the strength and endurance for it. It was on the 5th of November when I finally went for it. To my surprise, I was able to connect all the moves till the top. And that further cemented the confidence in me more than anything else. Also, I didn’t have enough time like others who had sent it over two to three trips and so, I concluded that it was either now or never. For the next two days, I returned and placed my focus entirely on Samsara on top-rope and was able to eventually send it.”

Could you share the process behind setting yourself against such a challenging route? How was the crux like?

“I was really pumped.”

“I have been scared of falls since 2015 when I had sustained an ankle injury. On this route, I concentrated on the first three clips and also the last one, which are also the crux moves.  Also, between the fifth and sixth clip, it was kind of a long run out and I wasn’t comfortable falling there. The last clip also came loose when I attempted the route in the evening. Shortly after, I re-attempted and took a two minute pause before the last clip; I had to because I was really pumped.”

How long have you been participating in competitions and what’s your journey been like?

“I have been participating in competitions since 2010 and have mostly been a sport climber. Before this, I have never worked on natural climbing projects. This was certainly a good experience and exposure for me.”

Having climbed Samsara, do you feel any different now?

“Nothing except the fact that I now believe I am capable of executing projects.”

Do you have any other interests apart from sport climbing?

“Dancing and badminton were there, but I somehow always managed to get back to climbing. Whatever time I was left with after studying, I used to channel it to climbing.”


Do you have any role models? If yes, who and why?

“If you have the mindset, dedication and willingness, no one can stop you.”

“Philippe Ribiere and Kim Ja-in. I first met Philippe Ribiere in 2011 at a girivihar competition in Navi Mumbai. I was surprised to see him climbing with his physical disabilities. It simply made me question myself, “If he could do it, despite the physical challenges, why couldn’t I?”

Kim Ja-in because she still participates in the world cup and is also married. It hasn’t influenced her career or lowered her ranking. I remember being told rather impudently that my climbing will suffer once I get married. It made me very angry. If you have the mindset, dedication and willingness, no one can stop you.”

You have set a benchmark for all the fellow female climbers in India, what are you looking at next?

“After having sent that route, I received a few calls from friends from the community who expressed their warm praise of the climb. I am glad to have contributed back to the community by setting an example. It makes me happy that other female climbers will take this as an inspiration to further push themselves and pursue such projects. I look forward to undertaking many more projects in Badami as well as in other parts of India.”

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Athletes & Explorers

Dec 05, 2018

Stephanie Gilmore’s 7th WSL World Title and a Wave of Attention that is Bigger than the Men’s

Three months after announcing equal pay for men and women, the World Surf League celebrates Stephanie Gilmore’s 7th World Title.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

On September 5th, 2018, the World Surf League announced plans for equal pay in men and women’s surf competitions in the 2019 season. This announcement was a huge step forward, not only for women’s surfing, but for women’s sport in general. The WSL had set the standard for equal pay in athletics.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) the WINNER of the 2018 Corona Open J-Bay at Supertubes, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Gilmore now wears the Jeep Leader Jersey after beating Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final and takes over the Yellow Jersey from Peterson (USA). Photo: World Surf League.

This past year, the WSL had received negative feedback after a photo went viral of the Billabong Ballito Pro Junior Series male champion being paid twice as much as the female champion. Most social media users were upset with the pay disparity at the event, commenting on the photo as “blatant inequality” and “archaic discrimination”. However, some social media users argued in favor of the unequal payout. They argued that men’s athletics are viewed in the media more than women’s athletics, therefore bringing in more revenue, and justifying the pay disparity. A social media user commented on the Billabong Junior Series surf photo saying, “Surfing, like most sports is a predominantly male sport. More people watch the men’s surfing, more men surf than women.”

THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

Many people would ask, do more people watch men’s surfing because it is actually more interesting? Or, do more people watch men’s surfing because that is what the media has always streamed, and thus, audiences are more accustomed to watching the men’s style as opposed to the women’s? Valeria Perasso at BBC News puts it well, “audiences will not get excited about women’s sport as it gets minimal exposure in the media, and the media would justify the lack of coverage by saying that female athletics do not generate enough audience engagement.” The same is true with other sports as well. Managing Director of the Women on Boards advocacy group, Fiona Hathorn, says, “Had our culture been used to seeing women rather than men playing rugby or football for generations, we would find the idea of men playing sports rather novel.”

NO LONGER A RELEVANT QUESTION?

If you head over to Google, use their News Search and type in “WSL Surf World Championship”, “2018 Surfing World Championship”, “Surf World Title WSL”, or anything along those lines, an article on Stephanie Gilmore and her 7th world title will be the first article to pop up. Every time. This means, not only are women now starting to get the pay they rightly deserve, but they are starting to get the media attention that goes along with it.

It was just last week, that Stephanie Gilmore won her 7th world championship title, proving to the world that women’s surfing deserves just as much attention, respect, and prize money as men’s surfing. She is now tied with Layne Beachley for the women’s world record of most surfing world titles.

With all this being said about the inequality between women’s and men’s athletics, the second half of 2018 has been a major year for progression of equality in women’s surfing. Women are now getting paid the same as men, and with Gilmore’s 7th world title win, she is also getting the same media attention as the men.

Hats off to Sophie Goldschmidt, the World Surf League’s new (and first female) CEO for pushing for equality!

Cover Photo: World Surf League

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