“‘Women can't surf big waves. Women can’t surf Pipeline. Women can’t surf Chopes. Women can’t paddle Jaws. Women can’t get barreled at Jaws’…Who I really want to thank is everyone in my life that told me, ‘You can’t do that because you’re a woman’, because that drove me to dedicate my life to proving you wrong. And it’s been so damn fun,” Keala Kennelly, the first female surfer to win the XXL Pure Scot Barrel Award.
Congrats going out to this incredible surfer, who surfed one of the heaviest waves ever seen at Teahupoo with skill and grace. Shoutout to the individuals who not only nominated her for the award but cast their ballots in her favor, not allowing gender bias to interfere in recognition of her accomplishment. Yet, as impressed as we are by her skill and fearlessness, it was her acceptance speech at the awards ceremony that moved us.
Being told you ‘can’t’ is a powerful statement. For many, the statement when uttered by mentors and those we hold in esteem or trust is not just an observation but becomes a truth, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fortunately some see ’you can’t’ as a challenge, words to be proven wrong. They do not bow down to the power the words hold but rise up to it, meet it and beat it. What is even more exhilarating about what Kennelly did is how she did it, having fun.
And so the question is, what motivates you to strive for your dream as improbable as it may be? Is it someone believing in you or is it the challenges and the naysayers that push you to the limit? Perhaps it is a combination of the positive and negative that keep you going. Whatever the driving force we hope you do it like Kennelly did. We hope you dream big and have fun.