Roisin's struggle in a sport that rewards looks over skill

The Northern Star

ROISIN Carolan is a Byron Bay surfer sponsored by local surfboard company McTavish and local bikini brand Surfkini.

"Sponsorship in surfing is really hard," said the 20-year-old.

"If you don't have some form of sponsorship it's really hard to get anywhere.

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"For women especially, sponsorship can be given for looks. If you have a good body, and look good in a picture, you're a lot more likely to get a big sponsor.

"Having a big social following is really important as well; brands want you to bring in more money than what they put into you.

"So if you have 20,000 followers on Instagram that's a lot of people seeing that bikini or wetsuit every day, even if you're not as good a surfer as someone else.

"Some of the best surfers I know out there don't have major sponsorship. For example Chelsea Williams, the current world longboard champion, doesn't have a major backer, which sucks.

"I'm really blessed to be able to ride McTavish boards and have so much support from them.

"As much as I would love to have a big sponsor, for a longboarder, who isn't a model, it's really hard.

"I don't really feel like I've had a 'break' in surfing. My biggest achievement has been qualifying for the world titles this year in China.

"To be honest, making a career in longboarding is unheard of. If you're a model who surfs, maybe you can do it. But not from just longboarding. If you won every paid comp in Australia for women's longboarding you would probably get $5000.

"A lot of the young short- boarders have sponsors but it's harder in longboarding. But I would rather get recognised for my surfing, and not my booty."