“The feminists are going to kill me, but all I'm saying is, right now, we don't deserve as much as the guys." Coco Ho said that in a recent issue of SURFING Magazine. The internet didn't like it very much, because the internet doesn't like anything very much, because the internet is like a neglected child who grows up to become an irritable adult who finds himself in a role of trivial yet relative power (shift manager at Office Depot, perhaps) and behaves like an incoherent dick all the time. Coco was accused of hindering progress in the sport of women's surfing. Funny thing is, Coco is one of the most powerful forces in propelling the sport forward and she proved it today by getting the highest heat score in Round 2 at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. Shortly thereafter, she welcomed me into her temporary home and tamed my curiosity as my shattered iPhone 5c sat on a table and recorded the words we exchanged. They are as follows. —Brendan Buckley
SURFING Magazine: So how was it today?
COCO HO: It was scary how fickle it was, but even small Snapper is so fun. I was fortunate enough to get two waves with a wall and I had good boards under my feet, so it was easy to start kickin' it.
Back in the day, they'd just send the girls out to surf whenever the waves sucked. Did you sense that at all today?
They wouldn't have put us out there today if we didn't want to be there. We just knew how bad the forecast looks and I think everyone was happy just to sneak another heat out at Snapper, because it's probably going to move to D-Bah. Jesse [Miley-Dyer, the Women's Commissioner] does such a good job. She was on tour during the worst of all that and she really has our back.
Have you noticed a difference in the way women are treated at these co-ed contests since you've been on tour?
Totally. This is my seventh year on tour and there was a point where it was so obvious and the boys would just make a joke out of it. The wind would turn onshore and Michel or someone would be going, Oh Coco you're on. And I would laugh like, Yeah, shit we are. But it's definitely changed. Ever since last year, it's been super girl-strong.
Do you like sharing the events with the guys?
Obviously, we had first priority when we had our own events but the waves were way worse. Now we're at premier spots, and twelve days is usually enough to get good waves for everyone. And it's better with the boys around. Better for the spectators, better for the sport.
You were quoted in SURFING saying…
That got sooo blown out of proportion.
Do you have any thoughts on that?
It was definitely something that I said, but I feel like it was taken out of context. The point I was trying to make is that we don't have to be loud, obnoxious girls petitioning for more money. We don't need to carry signs around outside the contest and chant. Everything is coming naturally with our progression. And we’re getting what we deserve right now — we're not surfing Pipe and Teahupo'o like the guys are, but we're progressing in towards that and everything is else is progressing with it.
I love being a girl. It's so powerful and beautiful to do this job as a woman, and there's nothing I love more. But I do feel really strongly about not being loud and aggressive about it. That's just not the right way to go about it. I think we need to keep surfing and pushing it, and everything we deserve is going to naturally come along with it.