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Documentary on pioneering female surfers of the 1980s set to make a splash

In 1993, an Australian surfer won the world championships but that year the females received no prize money.

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When Pauline Menczer won the world championships in 1993 she got nothing but a wobbly trophy. Source: 1 NEWS

In fact, Pauline Menczer’s triumph didn't even help her get any sponsors.

“I was only ever judged on the way I looked,” Menczer told 1 NEWS.

“And I'm sure I didn't get sponsors for most of my career because I didn't have the ‘look’ they wanted.”

The freckle-faced kid from Bondi may not have looked the way they wanted but she sure could surf and in 1993 she overcame crippling rheumatoid arthritis to become the women's world champion.

All she got for it, though, was a wobbly trophy.

“Here I was thinking I'm going to get a bonus for winning and there was nothing so it was a bit of a disappointment.”

Her story is now part of a film which will be released here next month.

Girls Can't Surf documents the pioneering female surfers of the '80s who took on the male-dominated industry.

After almost four decades, the fight of many documented in the film finally paid off three years ago with World Surfing one of the first sports to offer pay parity.

Menczer admits she was surprised when she heard the news.

“I actually thought it wouldn't still happen in my lifetime and when it did I could not stop crying when I heard the news,” she said.

“I was like a baby just bawling my eyes out — just so so happy.”

It came too late to change Menczer's experience in 1993 but now her story has caught the attention of two women who work in the industry, and they've decided to get her the prize money she never had.

Sophie Marshall and Mimi Lamontagne started a GoFundMe page that has since raised more than $40,000 for Menczer, and they couldn’t be more pleased for the former world champion.

“As soon as it hit $25,000 we Facetimed each other and we were just crying. We were just so overwhelmed and, honestly, it was one of my highlights to see how stoked she was,” Marshall said.

“It is righting a wrong that was in the past but I also think it's a way to help usher in the conversations that will create a better future,” Lamontagne added.

Merczer will be part of that conversation, too, with the bus driver wanting to use it to help others in the same situation she once was.