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LGBT Sports Profile: Cori Schumacher -- soul surfer

Editor's Note: San Diego Gay & Lesbian News is launching a new LGBT Sports Profile feature to run on Fridays. The Sports Profile will not only focus on the myriad of local LGBT sports organizations that San Diego is lucky enough to enjoy all year 'round, but also on the members of our community who participate in them.

This week, we profile native San Diegan and world-class surfing champion, Cori Schumacher. Schumacher has called this region home for 33 years and has remained near the ocean. Born in Huntington Beach, she grew up in Cardiff and currently lives in Carlsbad with her wife, Maria.

Sports involved in: 

Surfing

What sports-related organization(s) do you play with or volunteer for, and why? 

GaySurfers.net

I support and volunteer with this organization because GS is helping to connect gay surfers around the globe, while promoting a healthy image of gay surfers and giving us a safe space to celebrate our love of an ocean-centered life.

Position(s) played: 

Primarily a longboarder

When is the primary season for that sport? 

Year round! Though the warm waters of summer are a major plus!

What do you like best about that sport and/or that organization? 

Surfing is an activity of connection to a force entirely outside of one's control. Learning to spontaneously harmonize one's movements with such a force allows a truly deep connection with oneself and one's environment. There is nothing else like it. 

What is your full-time career? 

Since I have disavowed sponsorship of any kind, I make a living waiting tables while going to school. 

What is something that many people do not know about you? 

Many people do not know that my love of learning and epistemology often overtakes my love of surfing. When I surf, it balances that tendency within me that would otherwise spiral endlessly into figuring, thinking, and wondering.

What do you like most about the local LGBT community and it’s support of sports programs? 

From what I have known of the local LGBT community in surfing, there is a strong network of people who surf together, hang together, and generally support each other in water and on land. This develops a community, "a family" that is connected by shared values and activities. It is a precious support network.

What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?

I would like to see the LGBT community participate in activities outside of the bar/drinking scene. Getting more of the community involved in outdoor activities, out of the dark night clubs and into the light of the sun.

I think this would be helpful for younger generations of LGBT youth as well, to let them know that there is a gay life outside of the nightclubs and that how they look is not nearly as important as what they do in the world.  

What other sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life (aside from sports)? 

I spend quite a bit of time exchanging emails with different people from around the world. Much of my socializing happens when I hit the water at various locations in North County.

You never know who will be in the water and invariably, some random conversation can transpire while waiting for waves that is inspiring or thought-provoking. Learning how to negotiate for a limited resource (waves) in the line-up, via body language and/or verbal communication is a fascinating aspect of surfing.

Where would you be right now if you could be anywhere?

Surfing "Tea Trees" in Australia. It is a perfect right point break that you have to walk about 20 minutes to reach and it is summer in Oz right now. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a Koala in the trees munching on leaves above you as you walk to the point. 

What is your favorite outdoor location in San Diego? 

North County, specifically the Encinitas area, for its wide variety of surf and beautiful, kelp-enclosed reefs.

Anything exciting coming up with regards to your favorite sports? 

Surfing is in a bit of a transition right now, at least the professional side of it. The economy is making its mark. The exciting thing about this, from my perspective, is that it is reorienting the sport back to its core, away from the spectacle of contests and back to the connection of individual surfers with the ocean. A renaissance of sorts, if you will, of the soul of surfing. 

Website info for the sports organization you are most involved in or any causes you are involved in.

Some worthwhile links I'd like to share:

  • GaySurfers.net -- international social network for gay surfers
  • StandUpFoundation.com -- Rugby star Ben Cohen's anti-bullying website
  • RellSunn.com -- Educational non-profit for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, named after the "Queen of Makaha"
  • WomenforWomen.org -- helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives

Schumacher has always been very vocal in her advocacy for human rights around the world.

See why she is boycotting the 2011 ASP World Tour and why she thinks it is time for surfing to rise up to it's LGBT responsibility.

To learn more about Cori Schumacher, visit her website.

Photo: above, left: Schumacher surfing the nose; both photos courtesy of Cori Schumacher.

If there is someone you know who participates in an LGBT sport here in San Diego and would llke to have them profiled, email morgan@sdgln.com.