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Transgender Surfer Documentary: Becoming Westerly

The first time Australia’s Peter Drouyn stormed pro surfing’s stage in the early ’70s, he came from seemingly nowhere—a Queenslander in an era dominated by Sydney surfers. He ran off a string of impressive contest results, including three podium finishes at Bells Beach (’71, ’74, ’77); first place at the Makaha International (’70); and an Australian National Men’s Title (’70). Drouyn spent the rest of the ’70s as one of surfing’s most vibrant characters. Before he walked away from the competitive scene, he famously challenged four-time World Champion Mark Richards to a surf off in full-page magazine ads that featured Drouyn in his underwear—and slathered in fake blood—vowing to “Kill or be killed!”

The next time Drouyn captured the surf world’s attention, it was as a completely different person. In the mid-2000s, he began hormone replacement therapy, and in 2008 Drouyn announced to the world that he had become a she—Westerly Windina.

Longtime surf culture observer Jamie Brisick recently released the book Becoming Westerly, a fascinating read that chronicles Windina’s change, as well as the challenges some in the surf world had with accepting a transgender surf star. Brisick is currently wrapping up production on a feature-length film documentary about Windina. His Film for Nowness seems like a kind of taster tape for what’s to come..

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