Lennox All Girls Surfriders host Shield event
THE Lennox All Girls Surfriders Club hosted the annual Ma Bendall-Phyllis O'Donnell Memorial Tag Team Shield event against Mid North Coast and Sunshine Coast girls surfriders clubs at the weekend.
The memorial shield, created to honour the contribution to Australian women's surfing by these two pioneering women surfers, was won by Lennox Head.
O'Donnell won the first World Surfing Championships at Manly Beach in 1964 in front of a crowd of 65,000.
At the time of her win, surfing was dominated by men and her championship was regarded as a step forward for women's recognition in the sport.
She also won the women's division of the Australia National Titles in surfing in 1963, 1964 and 1965, and was a threat in top international competitions in the 1960s and early 1970s. Retiring from competition in 1974, O'Donnell became the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame's 16th inductee in 1996.
The first interclub event held to compete for the shield was in 1986 on the Sunshine Coast and was won by the Sunshine Coast Women in the Waves.
It was not until 1996 that the contest was held again, and from that year until 2007 it was contested by Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Lennox Head.
Due to the demise of the women's clubs on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, the shield was not officially contested again until 2013 when Mid Coast Girls Surfriders and Tweed Coast Surfer Girls Clubs travelled to Lennox Head to compete, with the event being contested via the current tag team format.
This year invitations were sent to Surfing Australia-registered all-female surfing clubs around the country, with a newly-formed Sunshine Coast Girls Surfriders Club and the Mid North Coast Girls Surfriders accepting the challenge.
The Surfers thanked Mel Mott for organising the event and the dinner on the Saturday night.