Berta Tilmantie / Lucy Foster Perkins

A beautiful photo of a female surfer in India- Here we are invited to a moment of focus, of tension, of timing, as we are shown the athletes facial expression. The image is not about showing of a sexy body in a small bikini, it’s all about the exotic surf experience.

Berta Tilmantie, Lithuania

Berta Tilmantie is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist, photographer and videographer. Her visual stories from different parts of the world often focus on the connection between human and nature. Berta has BA in Journalism from Vilnius University (Lithuania), also took a course in Photojournalism at Danish School of Media and Journalism. She holds MA in International Multimedia Journalism (University of Bolton/Beijing Foreign Studies University). Currently Berta works as a freelance multimedia journalist and photographer. Her work has been published in various media outlets, such as National Geographic, Al Jazeera, Geographical, GEO, Rhythms Monthly, China daily and others. She also occasionally lectures at Vilnius University and VGT University in Vilnius, Lithuania.
"Lucy Foster-Perkins is a surfer and respected yoga teacher. I met Lucy while traveling in India. We have friends in common and I had heard about her before, but this was the first time we met in person.  I saw Lucy surfing early in the mornings, in between the yoga classes she was giving in one of the nearby retreats. "
When and why did you get in to photography?
"I chose photography as a way of communication as I didn't like words that much."


What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
"Not really action sports, but I have to mention Ruta Meilutyte – a amazing Lithuanian swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and world record holder, Edita Nichols – first Lithuanian woman to climb Mount Everest, My free diving instructor Aurélie Cottier, who is also a scuba diver, paraglider and photographer
I'm also inspired by No Ordinary Women – a TV show about Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race"
Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
"Life itself, because it’s constantly challenging."
What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
"It’s sad that there is no equality in a lot of spheres and there is a lack of female role models in sports and photojournalism. There's a lot of different reasons behind this and there are definitely solutions – more women in those spheres, more responsible media, more discussions, etc. "


Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are connected?
"Yes, I still have those stupid complexes and fears, but I’m working on getting rid of them and I’m sure I will one day. My terrible skin or body shape, for instance, doesn’t define me as a person and photojournalist.
Media has a huge influence on people, especially young girls, therefore it should be held more accountable about messages it spreads. I, as a journalist myself, am really careful about the content I produce."
Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
"Men are often portrayed as heroes, fighters, achievers. Sweat, dirt, blood, skulk faces, traumas and other things are portrayed in the pictures, showing ‘real masculinity’.
Meanwhile women, in opposite, are often portrayed in a sexy, shiny, beautiful way, avoiding sweat, dirt, tears and all other things that make a very important part of sports.
When women are shown as they really are – with muscles, wide shoulders, etc., there are thousands of people commenting that this is not feminine, nor beautiful. I hate to hear this and it makes me really angry! I hope this is going to change soon. It has to."
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
"Just stop thinking that way. There is no place where someone couldn't fit in, there is just too little desire and too much fear. "
 Lucy: “This photo was taken at a surf spot near Edava – a fishing village in south west Kerala, India.  The beach is a really busy, working beach where about 50 fishermen haul in their brightly decorated boats every morning after a night of fishing. I often surfed here early morning when the morning light was breathtakingly beautiful – it felt like I was surfing in a painting.  From the water – which was glassy and calm in between sets and reflected the blues, pinks and peaches from the sky – I’d look back to the beach where all the multicoloured boats were lined up on the sand banks, facing the sea.
As the sun came up there was always a buzz of activity as the fishermen teamed up to pull in the long boats with two strong ropes, but by midmorning the beach would become calmer and the men who were left would settle on the sand to either patiently untangle and repair their nets or to start another round of cards.
I owe a lot to this wave and to the people I surfed with, and my really surfing improved over the time I spent here.  This photo really captures the colours and movement of the water and it takes me back to India every time I see it.”





Lucy Foster Perkins,

Lucy is a world renowned yoga teacher who travels the planet to teach surfers about yoga, which helps them improve their technique, strength, flexibility and body awareness.  
Originally from the UK (from Oxford, which is nowhere near the sea) Lucy worked in London and Austria as a dancer, before switching to her current career. She now lives what many would consider their dream-life, traveling the world to teach yoga, mostly to surfers, while also exploring different countries through surf and Culture. 


What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I love sports that allow me to move through and explore natural environments.  Surfing, when it goes right, feels like dancing on water, and  it goes wrong it reminds me to be humble and patient, and it take things step by step.  I think this is one of the biggest lessons it’s taught me, and one that I can relate to the rest of my life.”


What adventure is next on your bucketlist?
“I’ve been surfing in the tropics for a while now and I feel like it’s time to get cold again.  I’d love to surf in Norway and Finland – the landscape looks unreal and I hear the waves are pretty good too!”


What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“I’ve certainly had my fair share of injuries from surfing and boardsports in general (I’ve badly pulled a ligament in my knee, broken a bone, contracted a tropical infection, almost drowned, patched up cuts up with super-glue and had countless bruises all over my body – all over the period of just 6 months!), but they are totally eclipsed by the rush surfing gives me, the places it takes me and the people I’ve met.  There are certain waves that have stuck in my mind –  like euphoric moments frozen in time – that will always stay with me, and certainly out-live the bad times!”
Who is your biggest inspiration in life? Why?
“Anyone who sees the positive in everything.  They’re the ones who are happiest, and it’s all about being happy right?”


What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“When I started surfing I only ever surfed with guys. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to surf with girls, I just didn’t have many girl friends who were into surfing. Most of the posters I saw or footage I watched was of guys, and it all seemed to be about how powerful, explosive and “manly” their surfing was, so that was my perception of surfing, and that’s how I tried to surf – unsuccessfully!
It wasn’t until years later, when I moved to France for the summer to teach yoga that I had my first group of girl friends who I’d surf with regularly that I realised that I’d been trying to surf like a guy the whole time.  As I watch the other girls surf I was amazed by their grace, agility, fluidity and feminine power and I thought to myself “You’re not playing to your strengths Lucy!”  I realised I was trying to be something I could never be, and didn’t WANT to be either, but I’d never had any role models around me to show me my full potential.
Men and women ARE different, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not equal, or that we can’t learn from each other.  In a sport like surfing it’s all about creativity, enjoying the ocean, exploring what our bodies can do and learning from each other, and if we’re only presented with one side of the story – the men’s side – then we’re missing out of half of the story and we’re giving people (and mostly importantly girls) the wrong impression of what surfing is all about.
Women’s surfing should be celebrated and presented as much as men’s surfing, so that both men and women can be inspired and learn from it.  We can learn from each other, and enjoy the sport we love as a united community, and not a community that’s divided by our two sexes.”


How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“I believe women of all ages and races need to be presented in action sports, and not just young pretty athletes. I’d like to see more young girls believing that they can excel in their sport through their ability and passion, and not by how attractive they are to men, or how marketable they are in the action sports industry. Girls need to presented with the bigger picture and shown that they can do their sport throughout their lives if they want to, and not just when they’re “young and pretty”. I can see this is beginning to happen when I take my little cousin to the local skatepark to meet her friends every Sunday morning. I didn’t have that when I was her age (7), so I’m stoked that she’s got such a great community to support and encourage her.”


What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
I hope to see more and more images, footage and articles of women shredding, exploring and having fun with their sport so that other women can feel inspired to do the same.  It should be all about the sport, having fun and taking care of the environment we love, rather than how sexy we look.”


What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“A guy I know told another friend of mine that “annoyingly, Lucy is a better surfer than me”.  I’m not an amazing surfer, but it annoyed him that I was better than he was, but he’s never say that about the guys who were better than him. There seems to be a unwritten rule that girls will never be as good as guys at a sports, and if they are then the guy’s ego is bruised. This really gets my goat, and unfortunately I hear it way too often when guys talk about women in sports…”
What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Just do it! If you want to give it a go then there’s always someone ready to share what they know and their love for the sport.  If you come across anyone who makes you feel like you don’t fit in then don’t spend a moment longer with them – Surround yourself with people who share the love for your sport, support each other and have fun. If you meet someone who is only interested in “looking cool” then that’s their problem, not yours, so just go out there and enjoy yourself!”