June 11, 2021
WOMEN'S ADVENTURE FILM FESTIVAL | Lauren Tischendorf: Swimming Against the Tide
WOMEN'S ADVENTURE FILM TOUR GRANT WINNER - LAUREN TIESCHENDORF
The Women's Adventure Film Tour celebrates the extraordinary things women are doing in the name of adventure. At Salomon, women play a vital role in the product development of the outdoor range of footwear, apparel, and gear from concept creation to design. They are experts in biomechanics, fit, materials, and product usage and are constantly studying the evolution of outdoor sports. Also, women have many roles at many levels across the entire Salomon business, they are core end-users as hikers, climbers, runners, skiers, and mountain bikers themselves.
Partnering with Suunto, Salomon provided a $5,000 grant in support of the Women’s Adventure Film Tour. Through this grant, our goal was to work with an inspiring female adventurer to create a film that helps communicate that The Great Outdoors aids in dispelling the gender-based stigmas and clichés that are often found in daily life. We are very delighted to be able to support this person, and that through their creative work, help encourage and inspire more women to get outside and play.
We received so many suitable applicants and worked hard with Adventure Entertainment to chose the wonderful woman to receive this grant. We have chosen Lauren Tischendorf, who has recently become the first woman to swim in a solo, single session, circumnavigating the 35 km's around Lord Howe Island facing countless sharks, two hours of currents, 25 knot winds, and 2.5 metre swell.
Lauren will create a film to illustrate a woman’s potential pursuit in the face of the male naysayers, as well as motivate girls and women a chance to experience the excitement of ocean swimming. The film’s intention is to inspire and to provide a heart-warming, thought-provoking film that helps encourage women to be bold and to work together to break down the gender-biased stigmas. Essentially, highlighting that the average, local woman has the power and strength in her to make something wonderful, that doesn't need to be showy or canny but is just as strong and able.
The joy, flow, and tranquillity that the ocean provides led to a new epic challenge for the current, reigning female New South Wales 5km age ocean swim champion. Lauren had often been heckled that she could not swim as well, as far, nor as fast as her fellow male counterparts (she thrives in 8ft ocean swell, but that's for another time). A flippant comment in the early part of Covid (mid-Winter), sent the headstrong Lauren to set them wrong.
LAUREN DESCRIBES HER STORY HERE:
"Many of us use the ocean swim as a way of dealing with the various mental health concerns, especially those compounded by Covid-19. On a recent 10km round ocean, social swim, a gentleman spoke patronisingly about my inability to a) complete the swim and b) keep to the speed. Whilst, a genuinely nice guy, his undertone and expectation created a fury in me. Whilst scientifically, it has been proven that women are superior at long distance, endurance ocean swimming to men, it appears that still, the narrative and experience needs to develop at the grassroots, local level. Subsequently, I completed the swim, faster, ahead of him and his gang of chaps. Whilst the conditions were perfect, beautiful water, clear blue skies above and below, I swam with an intense fire to not only justify myself, but that of my two girlfriends who swam along with me (both having completed local and international channel swims) and had only joy for the companionship, not for the reason of the swim."
"It's the under-tones and snide remarks that need to change. Beyond this, often in swimming squad training with a mixed-sex lane, men will often push ahead in front of me, believing they're faster or quicker than me, because I'm a girl, and I often get stuck behind them, causes myself to slow down. Whilst my coach does nothing to help this, I have to compete against them and have to wait until I can sneak past or cut in front of them when they're exhausted to continue on."
"It's this continuous need for men to outdo and be better women and the tone it comes with; it needs to be more on a level playing field - yes, there are instances where each sex has different abilities, but we need to play to and. encourage our strengths, not just compete to push down."
The foundation of the challenge is to emphasise that women, like men, can achieve beyond the realm of what may seem possible is vital. Along with this, is non-negotiable of making the trip self-sufficient and eco-friendly to ensure that the ecology is not interfered with.
With the current Covid climate, Lauren had to look within her home state of New South Wales to set her new challenge. The perfect location, yet importantly the ecological wonders of UNESCO, World Heritage Listed island of Lord Howe could not be a more perfect stage for the circumnavigation. The location itself led to just as many difficulties as the island is UNESCO World Heritage listed due to its unique biodiversity. As such, nutrition was limited in packaging and carry-on waste stored for disposal back on the island. Swimwear and multi-use equipment and food storage devices were used to ensure that no further plastics were used.
Lauren connected with the organisation Pledge for the Planet to encourage supporters to effect and adjust their daily habits to promote greater awareness of environmental impact.
Lauren is truly making a difference in the women community in so many ways, and inspiring us all to not be put down by the gender-biased stigmas and to go after the very things that thrill and scare us at the same time.
We cannot wait to enjoy this film with you at the Women's Adventure Film Festival starting in September this year.