Publication Details

McGloin, C. 2007, 'Aboriginal surfing: reinstating culture and country', International Journal of the Humanities, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 93-100.


Mainstream surfing in Australia is a discursive cultural practice, institutionally sanctioned as integral to national identity. Surfing represents the nation through a mode of white heterosexual orientation that is encoded into its practices and its texts. Surfing represents an historical transformation in the national psyche from the bush, inaugurated by the nation’s literary canon, to the beach, which has become the modern site of the nation’s identity. Indigenous surfing provides an oppositional view of nation and country that reinscribes the beach with cultural meanings specific to Aboriginal cultures. Surfing in this context can be seen as a reclamation of culture and a challenge to the dominance of white conceptions of nation and identity. This paper examines the indigenous surfing film, "Surfing the Healing Wave" and explores the film's representations of histories that are relevant to Aboriginal people. The film's narrative disruption of the surfing film genre instates a pedagogical practice that functions to reinscribe Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal histories through the contemporary event of the indigenous surfing contest.

Link to publisher version (URL)

The Humanities