Going beyond the expected occupations for women, professional surfer Elaine Abonal believes that Filipinas should be able to pursue their dreams, dance with the waves, and ride the tide if they want to.
"I know that being a woman should not be a reason for me or any other lady out there to not catch a wave nor enjoy the water," she said.
More than a hobby, surfing is also the livelihood of Abonal. Day after day, she wakes by the seaside to perform her role as the manager of Surfista Travels Philippines.
According to Abonal, riding the waves makes her feel proud to represent women and show that they are "strong, intelligent, and capable."
"I am also humbled by it because I know that a lot of young girls or other women look up to me," she said.
Abonal spends most of her time in the water, surfing and being one with the ocean. Although surfing is still a male-dominated sport, this does not hinder her dedication to it.
"I don't have to act like a man or play the rules of the guys--being aggressive, showing off, etc.--to enjoy surfing. I stay true to myself--female, strong, and a fellow being in the water just enjoying the surf," she said.
Part of staying true to herself means letting her hair loose while riding the waves, because it reflects her personality and lifestyle.
"It is a source of strength and femininity. It also represents grace for me while surfing. I always surf with my hair down and without restrictions, because it looks so graceful while blowing in the wind and while dancing on my surfboard," she said.
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