Cori Schumacher – Independent Scholar & Activist (San Diego, CA, USA)

Cori Schumacher began surfing at the age of 5 and competing at the age of 8. During her competitive career, she won acclaim in both shortboarding and longboarding categories. Schumacher garnered multiple national and international titles in shortboarding, moving steadily forward onto the professional surfing tour (then the Association of Surfing Professionals, now the World Surf League). She decided to drop off the professional shortboard circuit after experiencing the inequality and prejudicial nature of the professional surfing paradigm. Later, she returned to longboard competition where she became a 3-time World Longboard Champion (2000, 2001, 2010).

Cori Schumacher. Photo: Maria Cerda
Cori Schumacher. Photo: Maria Cerda

As the defending world champion, Schumacher boycotted the 2011 women’s world longboard championships, which was the first professional grade (Association of Surfing Professionals/World Surf League) surfing event to be held in China. She cited political reservations specific to women’s rights, the environment, and broader human rights concerns. Since this time, Schumacher has remained a vocal advocate and activist tackling issues such as gender disparity, homophobia, and the social and environmental impacts of consumer culture. In 2012, she founded the non-profit The Inspire Initiative, which seeks to empower women through surfing by deepening our understanding of, and participation with, the potential surfing has as a complicated force for the physical liberation of women and girls around the world. She has been published in The Guardian, The Surfer’s Journal, Gender Across BordersThe Inertia, and regularly blogs at corischumacher.com.

A regular collaborator with academics working on issues of gender, sport, and globalization, Cori’s work in The Critical Surf Studies Reader contextualizes recent surf documentary film within the rhetoric of competitive surfing’s governing bodies, industry representatives, and multinational brands to trace women’s complicated relationships to physical liberation through surfing as it has extended globally from Southern California to places such as India, China, and Iran.

Cori Schumacher Photo: Maria Cerda
Cori Schumacher
Photo: Maria Cerda