Sponsors make it tough for girls in sport

FUNDING WIPEOUT: Champion surfer, Coolum’s Isabella Nichols, gets less funding than the boys.
FUNDING WIPEOUT: Champion surfer, Coolum’s Isabella Nichols, gets less funding than the boys. Geoff Potter

COOLUM'S Isabella Nichols is the best for her age in the country and will represent Australia at the International Surfing Association world junior titles in Ecuador next month.

She also happens to be stunningly beautiful.

But when it comes to securing sponsorship and prizemoney, Nichols appears to be in the shadow of her male counterparts.

She struggles to get sponsorship to cover even the cost of travel to major events such as next month's world junior championships.

Her parents have to pay more than half the costs.

The teenager, who has been praised by surfing coach Brad Lee as having that "something special", has about $3000 a year worth of sponsorship.

She said some male teenagers in the same league as her were earning "around $50,000".

"It is quite hard," Nichols said.

"They put too much money into the boys."

Fellow surfer Dimity Stoyle, who has made it on to this year's World Championship Tour, also has struggled for sponsorship.

"There is a lot more support for boys," Stoyle said.

"Here in Australia the prob

lem is not many companies want to spend.

"There are a few boys who are still unsponsored, but more brands support boys.

"It is true boys on the same level as Isabella are getting sponsored."

It is not only surfing where women fail to rank in the earnings.

Of the 50 sports personalities in the BRW top sports earners for 2013, only two were women.

Tennis's Samantha Stosur, ranked at 29, earned $1.8 million.

Surfer Stephanie Gilmore raked in $1.5 million, coming in at 32, after appearing in a controversial Roxy advertisement that never even showed her surfing.

Fellow surfer Julian Wilson, from Coolum Beach, is ranked 25th on the list, earning $2 million last year.

Former world No.5 surfer Robbie Sherwell did not believe there was sexism in surfing, particularly as the prizemoney on the world stage had been made equal.

"As far as the major spons

ors go for surfers, it is not sexism. A lot of the guys have

n't got big sponsors," Mr Sherwell said.

"It all comes to down to whether a sponsor thinks they are marketable or not."

Topics:  isabella nichols sponsorship sport surfing

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