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Girls Can't Surf Movie & Panel Event

GIRLS CAN’T SURF movie event

Join us at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park on July 20th to celebrate the extraordinary local legacy of women in surfing. The Girls Can’t Surf movie event is presented by the Women’s Museum of California and the Oceanside Surf Museum. During the event a panel discussion with four trailblazing women in surfing history is followed by a screening of the Girls Can’t Surf movie. The movie narrates the untold story of how a band of renegade surfer girls in the 1980s fought to create their own professional sport, changing surf culture forever. Afterward, the panelists and guests will have the chance to meet and discuss everything over tacos from the Taco Bar (included with permission!).


The event kicks off with an empowering panel discussion inspired by the story of the Girls Can’t Surf movie featuring the Commissioner for the World Surf League (WSL) Jessi Miley-Dyer, the Founder of Women’s International Surfing Association and 1975 World Cup winner Jericho Poppler, WSL Championship Tour Surfer from Encinitas Alyssa Spencer and Surf Diva’s Izzy Tihanyi.

Host Jim Kempton

Jim Kempton is a pioneering figure in the surf and action sports industry, with roles including Editor and Publisher at Surfer Magazine, Group Publisher at TransWorld Publishing, and Director of the Quiksilver Crossing global programs. Furthermore, he spent over a decade as Media Director at Billabong and currently serves as Executive Director of the California Surf Museum for the past decade. On top, Jim is also an acclaimed author and screenwriter, recognized for his film “Big Wave Guardians” and several screenplays. A recipient of the California Arts Award of Excellence in Editorial Writing, Kempton has authored four books, including “Women On Waves”.

Jessi Miley-Dyer

Jessi Miley-Dyer is the newly appointed Commissioner for the World Surf League (WSL). With over a decade of experience as a professional surfer and a distinguished career within the WSL, she has been instrumental in advancing women’s surfing and promoting equality in sports. Jessi’s leadership in her former role as Chief of Sport for WSL has led to groundbreaking initiatives such as equal prize money for male and female athletes, making the WSL a trailblazer in gender equality.

Jericho Poppler

Jericho, a pioneer of women’s surfing and international surf champion, led the world pro tour in 1976. Her achievements include four-time Smirnoff World Pro Big Wave champion, two-time Hang-ten South Africa champion, and Pipeline Women’s Masters winner on Hawaii’s North Shore. In addition, she held titles such as US Women’s champion in 1970, West Coast Tour champion from ’69 to ’74, and WISA Tour champ from ’75 to ’80. Jeri co-founded the SurfRider Foundation in ’84, Kids for Clean Waves in ’92, and the Groundswell Society in ’99 to protect California’s coastline. In ’92, she became the first longboard PLA pro champ and US Stand Up Paddle-board champion.

Alyssa Spencer

On her first full year on the WSL Championship Tour the San Diego North County local is part of a new swarm of Southern Californian rookies who joined the dream tour this year. Alyssa was born into a family of surfers. She started her career competing in the WSA series and later the NSSA, USA Surfing, the pro juniors and the WSL Qualifier Series.

Izzy Tihanyi

Izzy Tihanyi, a pioneering surf instructor, co-founded Surf Diva, Inc., the world’s first all-women’s surf school in 1996 in La Jolla, California, with her twin sister, Coco. With a competitive surfing background in collegiate shortboarding and pro longboarding and a degree in Communication and Lit/Writing from UC San Diego, Izzy has empowered countless women in the male-dominated surfing world. Under her leadership, Surf Diva has become a globally recognized brand offering diverse surf programs and fostering a supportive community. Izzy’s commitment extends to ocean conservation and youth education, enhancing her impact locally and internationally.

GIRLS CAN’T SURF Movie Screening

Following the panel discussion, there will be a screening of the Girls Can’t Surf movie, a powerful film that offers a poignant tribute to the fearless women who defied stereotypes and shattered barriers in the male-dominated world of professional surfing.


Join all panelists as well as host, surf industry veteran and author of the book “Women On Waves” Jim Kempton for a meet and greet at the Taco Bar afterward (included in admission, drinks for purchase)! Proceeds will go to both the California Surf Museum and Women’s Museums of California.


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