Prue Jeffries Surfing Career Biography
Prue Jeffries (b.1972) A pioneer and visionary of Women’s Surfing, she spent two decades traveling the world on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour, now known as the WSL (World Surf League). Her competitive and athletic career spanned from the late 1980’s through to the mid-2000’s. She was also a published writer, editorial consultant, founder of a women’s clothing company, brand ambassador, event co-producer, and filmmaker.
Prue grew up surfing the iconic Bondi Beach, Australia. Originally a working class suburb, home to many immigrant families. Prue’s childhood was shaped by the eclectic influences of multicultural Sydney. From a young age she had a love of creativity, water, nature and the metaphysical. Prue initially took up skateboarding, bodysurfing, surf mat riding and bodyboarding before transitioning to surfboards around 12 years old.
Shaped by an education that supported children from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, she thrived in an intellectually and socially expansive environment. It shaped her openness and desire to explore and exchange with cultures and life around the world, also her opinion of the importance for Women’s Surfing (and surfing in general) to be inclusive and grow the length, breadth, and diversity of narratives and opportunities for women.
From 1990 to 2006, Prue spent 16 years competing on the ASP WCT and WQS Tours. She contributed to the growth of Women’s Surfing in multiple ways, as an advocate for women in boardsports. She was a WCT level surfer willing to work in areas of writing, editorial consulting, clothing company development, surfboard design and filmmaking.
She felt good surfing was genderless, transcended surfboard choice and was a reflection of a surfers relationship with the water and waves. A waterwoman at heart, Prue is known for her soulful, quieter nature, graceful, smooth, flowing style and keen interest in surfboard design.
In 1990, 17 years old fresh from high school and deferring university, she traveled to the Bells Beach Easter Classic. With minimal surfing exposure outside of Bondi and little amateur experience or coaching, she continued on the ASP World Tour, supported by sole sponsor Peter Daniel Surfboards. She achieved a world #13 in 1990 at the age of 17-18 years old. Considered a best raw rookie performance at the time. She followed up in 1991 with another #13 finish.
Between 1992 – 1996, Prue competed part-time and pursued a passion for Outrigger Canoe paddling. She paddled many distance races including the 41-mile Na Wahine O Ke Kai Molokai to Oahu Canoe Race in Hawaii and the Hamilton Island Canoe Races in Australia. Prue honed her water skills, paddling and surfing abilities in Hawaii. Feeling a close kinship and respect for Hawaiian culture, Prue was bestowed the name by a friend from a Kahuna of “Alohiwaipuhia” meaning “bright wind-swept water” or “waterfall blown back up to heaven”. She later moved to Narrabeen to continue her surf style refinements, whilst working as one of the first women in construction for Australian telecommunications company Telstra, where she was promoted rapidly for her young age to administer and supervise minor works projects.
In 1997 Prue returned to full time competition. She had better financial support from work, greater confidence and fitness instilled from paddling canoes, coaching support and her own combining of holistic and somatic approaches to training as a base. She qualified for the ASP Women’s Top 11 WCT Tour, earning the ASP Most Improved Award. Her surfing abilities caught legend Midget Farrelly’s eye, along with Simon Anderson who she started to ride surfboards for and received his support. That year she won the Senior Division of the Roxy Wahine Classic at San Onofre, a groundbreaking event where she met Linda Benson, Marg Oberg, Candice Woodward and many USA surfing legends that inspired her.
By 1998 Prue finished world #6. She won the Quit Women’s Pro at Margaret River, after being a finalist in 1997. She defeated Pam Burridge, Lisa Andersen and Rochelle Ballard on her way to the finals with Layne Beachley at the Bells Beach Easter Classic. She is twice finalist at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach and a finalist at the Rip Curl Pro in Hossegor, France. She won the Boundi Pro, Portugal, the Gallaz Pro, Oceanside, and was twice winner of the SG Queen of the Creek, Salt Creek, as well as a number of Professional Surf Tour of America events. She is a dual silver medalist from the 2002 ISA World Surfing Games in Durban.
In 1999 Prue was one of the first WCT level women, with her ranking at #6 in the world, competing on two world tours, too play an instrumental working role in founding and developing a women’s clothing and lifestyle brand. Connected by Wahine Magazine publishers Marilyn Edwards and Elizabeth Glazner with Jackson Sports Management she signed a sponsorship deal with the Bodywaves Group from Orange County, California, USA, led by Tim Su for their B-Pro activewear line. Responding to what she felt was the objectification of women in the surf industry. Prue partnered with Tim to transform B-Pro into a core women’s line by strategizing and rebranding it as Elleven.
Elleven emerged as a vessel to empower women from all backgrounds and stages in life seeking to showcase women surfers strength and appeal in expressing their natural talents. She felt women’s beauty and strength was inherent and expressed in many shapes, sizes, faces and cultures. Representing this was the best way to role model for younger women.
She oversaw the branding, marketing, and development of Elleven, finding, hiring and working closely with Solodizine / Blue Door Creative Tiff Seale and Victor Sokolow instrumental in the new branding, along with Art Brewer, Jim Russi and Jim Pidgeon for photography. Prue worked with fashion designer Pamela Zoolalian the first women on ESPN and to compete in the X-Games in street luge racing for the clothing. She also worked on advertising placements, event sponsorship, editorial trips and developing a team of women riders from diverse backgrounds. Onboarding Florida WQS surfer Falina Spires and Californian Longboarder of Filipino heritage Mary Bagalso with an eye to growing more ambassadors in time.
Elleven sponsored the 1999 Elleven Women’s US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach and in 2000 both Women’s US Open of Surfing WCT and WQS events. The investment was significant- roughly $300K for women’s surfing at the time. One of the promotions of the events was a poster of Prue doing a powerful cutback on the face of a Puerto Escondido wave with the bold and perhaps prescient statement “The future of surfing is in the hands of women.”
During her career Prue appeared in surf films, Surfers the Movie, Blue Crush, Peaches, 7 Girls, Our Turn, Burnt Toast, Aqua Dulce, Heart, Gone Mentawais (Fuel TV), Fashion, Dear and Yonder. She was invited on, collaborated or orchestrated numerous editorial trips. She was invited on a groundbreaking Surfer Magazine trip to Samoa with Rochelle Ballard, Layne Beachley, Megan Abubo, Serena Brooke and Keala Kennelly. Whilst there Bill Ballard filmed some of the iconic original Blue Crush, whose name Prue helped create. When Blue Crush was adapted for a hollywood movie – with a professional female surfer’s perspective and writing background she consulted with the initial script writers contributing to storyline ideas.
With a world opening to women athletes, the surf industry was opening to women surfers. As a writer and WCT level surfer Prue worked with magazines, she spearheaded unique editorial trips designed to broaden the narrative of women’s surfing. Prue was passionate about using her position to create opportunities for other women. Early in her life around 14 years old, she entered a Tracks Magazine writing contest and was published.
This started her career writing for publications such as Surfer, Surfer Girl, Surf Girl, SG Skate and Snow, Waves, Surf Girl, Wahine, Chick, Jetty Girl, Wet and many international publications over the span of 30 years. Prue a soul of surfer at heart wanted to spend more time with the purity of the sport and free surfing which Elleven supported and sought to cultivate as an avenue for women surfers beyond competition success. Many unique surf travel adventures ensued. She collaborated with Surfing Girl magazine for the first women’s editorial trip in 1999 to the intense waves of Puerto Escondido bringing 14 year-old Hawaiian Kirsten Quizon, 17 year-old Californian Holly Beck, East Coaster Falina Spires and retired 4 times World Surfing Champion Frieda Zamba 36 years old, at a time when the surf industry was only interested in younger age groups for women’s “marketing”.
In early 1999, Prue for Elleven’s marketing campaign worked in collaboration with Wahine Magazine for writing and editorial and photography legend Art Brewer to take a first ever, ground-breaking multi-disciplined, multicultural women’s board-sports trip to the Maldives. She invited skateboard and snowboard legends Cara Beth Burnside and Tara Dakides who also surfed, as well as wishing to support, showcase and lift the profile of women longboard surfers, inviting Mary Bagalso, Kassia Meador, Belen Kimble, Alayna Scheibell and up and coming Australian surfer Jenny Boggis and Elleven team rider Falina Spires. Prue returned to the Maldives again with Elleven in 2000 for a magalogue campaign, and another editorial feature she wrote and organized for magazines.
Thriving on unique trips throughout her career, Prue was involved in the first women’s editorial trip to the West Australian heavy waves Gnaraloo and Red Bluff. Camping in the desert for 2 weeks with Brazilian-Australian 4-time Women’s Bodyboard World Champion and Pipeline pioneer Stephanie Peterson, and 5-time Women’s Australian Champion Bodyboarder Mandy Zerian, 18 year old Australian Junior Champion surfers Claire Bevalacqua, and Stacey Holt. For more adventures she traveled through the Civil War strife of Sri Lanka in 2001 for a Women’s Surf trip that was published in Australia, USA and France.
She also enjoyed trips to Lakey Peak, Indonesia for an SG Magazine Cover in 2001, many road trips to Australian waves, bringing a mix of talented women wave riders to share the recognition with. Prue was also on a Mentawai boat trip for Fuel TV called Gone Mentawais in 2006, with Jodie Nelson, Kate Skarratt, Veronica Kay, Karlee Mackie, Elle Northey and Kassia Meador surfing on the Mangalui through the Mentawai’s, and traveling in a dug out canoe through the jungles of Siberut Island to meet Mentawai peoples and their medicine holders the Sikerei to discuss the effects of deforestation on their plant medicines. The trip included collaborating for the filming of a women’s surf movie she co-created called Fashion – that featured a large diversity of women surfers from across the world and was sponsored by Roxy & Red Bull.
Significant career highlights included sponsorship by Turner Network and their show the Power Puff Girls, a first feature of Women Surfers in Sports Illustrated for Women in 2000 where she was photographed with three-time Olympic Gold medalist Misty May and her partner three-time olympian Holly McPeak, “The Most Dangerous Women in the World” Professional Female Boxer Lucia Rijker from A Million Dollar Baby, World Boxing Champion and Hall of Famer “Sugar” Shaun Moseley, and Pipeline surfer Strider Wasileski. She was featured as a waterwoman – a canoe paddler and surfer in Outside Magazine ads for Hobie with Buzzy Kerbox, Lefty Kray and Gerry Lopez.
Other contributions to the growth of surfing saw Prue, playing a role in founding IWS (International Women’s Surfing) with Layne Beachley, Rochelle Ballard, and Megan Abubo in 1999 to lobby for Women’s rights in pro-surfing including equal pay. In 2005 requested by Donald Takayama she supported surfing legend Linda Benson as Vice President for the Women’s World Longboard Championships in Ocean Beach in 2006. On retiring from competitive surfing Prue, who original learned to surf on a single fin, and trained on one throughout her career – indulged her love for surfboard design and experimenting with eggs, fishes and bonzers. Always a soul surfer at heart. She continues to this day surfing and paddling. Prue has worked for many years developing and mentoring young surfers.
In the early to mid 2000’s she worked with surfing, the water and oceans therapeutic benefits with children who had various trauma, and medical conditions. Today she is working in a full-time bodywork and somatic education practice where she teaches retreats, trains new therapists, and connects deeply with the natural world. Her relationship with surfing, creativity, health and the water endures.