Surfing with the Curl Girls


Erin surfing in Curl Girls

Erin stands in her living room and flashes a sly smile as she racks her shotgun and demonstrates how scary it sounds—hopefully enough so to preclude her from ever having to fire the weapon, she says. The pretty 27-year-old boasts about the conceal-and-carry permit she's allowed as a prosecutor for the California State Attorney General's Office.

But regardless of her self-professed talent with firearms or women, Erin certainly has a way with a surfboard.

Like her closest friends, Erin spends all of her free time chasing waves along the Southern California coastline. And Curl Girls, a documentary currently airing on Logo, tags along with this “group of Los Angeles lesbian surfers whose main passions are surfing and each other.” The hour-long special offers a glimpse at a few weeks in the lives of this rambunctious pack, tracking their antics both in and out of the Pacific Ocean.

The action zigzags between surfing shots and snippets of on-screen interviews with the women. The music pulsates, the images flicker, and somehow you surrender to the fun not because it's irresistible, but because the case for it is so overstated that it wearsyou down.

Curl Girls is part music video and part surf porn, although you don't have to be a wave chaser to enjoy watching the cascading curls. And the girls themselves are attractive and engaging subjects who are at ease in front of the cameras. It's not often that you get to see women surfers on screen, and the fact that these women are queer makes them all the more intriguing.

The program is shot MTV-style, which should come as no surprise given that Logo is a division of MTV Networks. This could almost be The Real World—except that the production isn't as obnoxiously slick, the psychodrama is comparatively minimal, and rather than sporting a token lesbian/bi woman, here the entire troupe is gay.

Besides Erin the cast of characters includes Michelle, a veterinarian; Beth, 28, a former pro-football player from San Francisco who moved to LA to work for a nonprofit; Vanessa, 32, who used to be a skater but currently waits tables while going to fashion school to make “pimp suits” and “really cool tailored suits for women;” Viv, 36, who is rarely heard from beyond the introductory sequence; and the equally short-shrifted Emily, 26, who gets no screen time other than when she is trying on bikinis at a local surf shop.

The shop is Rocker board shop, an outfit near Venice beach that caters to women surfers. When the girls hit the shop, co-owners Christina and Alison let them know that they'll be combing the beach over the next several weeks in search of an athlete to represent them. The top candidate gets a chance to compete under the Rocker name, in Rocker gear and on a custom-shaped board. The search for a winner is the central focus of the program, but it boils down to a contest between just two of the women rather than a collective scramble for the single spot.

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