After a 7-year hiatus from surfing, Cori Schumacher clenched her third world longboarding title at the Roxy ASP Women’s World Longboard Championships last week in Biarritz. We caught up with her to talk about her win, how longboarding renewed her love of the ocean, and why women longboarders should be held in higher esteem.
How does it feel to take the win from back-to-back champ and fellow San Diegan Jen Smith?
I went to France this year with one goal: to make it out of my first heat. I won two consecutive world titles in 2000 and 2001 before I stopped surfing completely for seven years. When I began competing again, I wanted my first ASP title and to push beyond the two-world-title tie I shared with Daize Shayne-Goodwin and Jennifer Smith. It feels amazing to have accomplished this!
You used to be a competitive shortboarder – what made you cross over?
I spent many years competing as a shortboarder, while I was also competing in California club events on a longboard. I spent a couple years on the ASP World Tour, but I found that my love for surfing was beginning to dry up. I began to hate getting up in the morning to surf. It felt like a job on some factory line. It was when I longboarded that I felt that kid-like love, that passion for the ocean and the smell of sea salt that got me when I first fell in love with surfing. I have been surfing since 5 and competing since 8, on all types of boards, but it’s only in competitive longboarding that the true essence of why I surf and compete are married. I left shortboarding behind, rejected it for an area of the surfing world that still holds a vein of authenticity for me.
How do you feel about the fact that women’s longboarding is so low on the competitive surfing totem pole?
Longboarding is perceived with disdain, and female longboarders get the worst of this. I have even heard well-respected female shortboarders crack jokes at our expense, which saddens me, since they know full well that women have to stick together to get anywhere in this sport.
As far as I am concerned, female longboarding harbors the very soul of surfing. The women and girls who choose to ride longboards are some of the most beautiful, creative, intelligent humans in the ocean. We support our community and all who choose to ride with courage, grace and style – and it is because of this that we continue, regardless of whether we are supported financially by the industry as a whole.
What are your hopes for the future of women’s longboarding?
My hope is that women who longboard will have the ability to choose whether they want to make a living at it or not. I would like to see more competitive events for female longboarders, both professional and amateur. I would like to see more than one event decide the World ASP Title. I would like to see a female longboard division in the ISA World Games and Jr. Championships. I would like for the surfing world to understand that female longboarders are a unique class of women on water, seeking to dance to their own unique rhythms, and that there is value in supporting this expression.