5 x Time Paddle Board World Champ Jordan Mercer On Being A Role Model For Girls

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It’s no secret we’re living in a celebrity-obsessed age where the majority of women that girls look up to are involved in some form of entertainment whether it be music, reality TV, films or TV. While not all the women in these mediums are horrible role models (as evidenced by the many celebrity articles we feature on our site) it’s important to realize that role models aren’t just limited to one industry.

An area where we believe women have significant influence over young women in a very positive way is sports. Earlier this summer we saw just how influential women can be, when team USA beat Japan in the Women’s World Cup in Canada, landing the team a third World Cup Win.

Not only was the final the MOST watched soccer game in American television history (25 million), it attracted 1 billion viewers worldwide and marked the first time the Women’s World Cup had major broadcast distribution. It just goes to show that the argument often stated about women’s sports not being as popular as men’s completely goes out the window when it becomes clear all they need is the same type of coverage.

Of course the other problem we have is the unequal pay between men and women playing the same sports. In total, the USWNT took home $2 million for their win, in contrast the German men’s national team took home a whopping $35 million when they won the men’s World Cup in 2014. Unfair much? While there are many athletes and sporting organizations campaigning to change that, there are ways to make a difference in how female athletes are positioned in the public eye.

As a media site, we are big believers in using our platform to spread positive messages from these women, which is why we are excited to share some inspiring quotes from athlete Jordan Mercer.

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The 22 year old Australian just won her 5th consecutive paddle board championship in Hawaii in July. Oh you missed the first four? So did we and we think it is bogus there isn’t more coverage of this badass chick! Aside from her paddle board prowess, Jordan is also ranked 3rd in the International Iron Woman Series.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the native Queenslander talked about the importance of being a role model and why she believes being strong is a better aspiration than being pretty. Growing up, being fit wasn’t seen as anything cool, but the teenage peer pressure didn’t stop her athletic aspirations.

“When I was younger, boys didn’t think that it was cool that I was faster than them and had more muscles. It takes its toll when it’s seen as not being up to a girl to be strong, powerful and fast – to be determined and have crazy goals,” she said, and added that it was her determination to continue sports that eventually gave her the confidence she needed to be successful.

In light of this, she wants to use her platform to be a positive role model for other girls and recognizes she is in a good position to do so.

“It’s been so incredible to see the success of women in sport. It’s amazing to see the light shone on so many incredible, powerful women. The Aussies are doing a great job. What it comes down to is knowing young girls are seeing these kinds of women held up in such high respect and regard,” she said.

The Aussie champion is sponsored by Red Bull, Nike and Oakley, and told an Australian blogsite that her sporting success started at the age of 13 when she was asked by the Australian Institute of Sport to be part of their 2008 Beijing Olympics training squad for gymnastics, but she ended up turning it down in favor of competing in the water.

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To have that kind of offer at such a young age is a huge compliment to her talent, yet she clearly knew where she was headed instead: to be a 5 x world champion and record holder.

“From a young age I was always determined to be the best. Not just at sport but anything I tried, I always strived to do things perfectly. I did a lot of sports through my early years running and gymnastics being my focus. My dreams and future vision have changed through the years but sport has always remained a very important part of who I am and what I wanted to do,” she said.

Now that she is at a level where she is accomplishing her goals and dreams, Jordan hopes female athletes like herself will inspire more girls to also be ambitious and determined.

“If young girls are interested in sport, they can and should pursue it. They should go out and set goals that scare them. Young girls deserve these role models. There are such exciting things to look forward to. I’m now surrounded by incredibly powerful women. Red Bull does an amazing job at supporting girls of that stature,” she said.

Competing in the Paddle Board World Championship wasn’t necessarily a breeze for Jordan, who worked hard every step of the way to earn her fifth title. She told the Daily Mail how she had to battle currents and strong weather conditions. There was a point she almost considered giving up, as the paddle between the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu was a grueling 55 km (roughly 34 miles) the most of which Jordan spent on her hands and knees as that is her specialty. Oh and did we mention she did this in shark-infested waters?

That is something that scares her about the ocean, especially since one of her fellow Aussie athletes and friends surfer Mick Fanning just became a household name around the world after narrowly escaping a shark attack in South Africa during a surf competition.

“Mick is my friend and I watched the shark attack in honest disbelief. Knowing what an amazing guy he is made it feel like watching a member of your family. After seeing it all and knowing he was okay… there were definitely tears that came about after the shock wore off,” she said.

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“The fear is always there, it’s raw and it’s real. That’s my office out there. When it comes to open ocean racing, the channel is renowned for sharks. It’s their breeding ground, it’s where they live, it’s part of the deal. You just have to keep your eyes open and your wits about you,” she said referring to her own competition, adding that shark culling is something she is firmly against.

Something she is in favor of is positive body image and wants to show young girls that your body is so much more than just a tool to be looked at, a thought which another champion athlete, UFC’s Ronda Rousey, also recently made strong comments about.

“I wish I knew then what I do now – they say strong is the new pretty. But strong really is pretty. It isn’t until you have some of these incredible experiences that you appreciate what your body can do,” she said. Her regimen includes being in the ocean or training on land for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week.

For those of you who are determined to have an athletic career like Jordan’s where you are winning world titles, being sponsored by the biggest names in the industry, and being recognized for your sporting ability, she has some key advice which she shared in a previous interview:

“The best piece of advice I could pass on from my experience is hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and there is no easy road to any place worth going.”

As for her future goals?

“To do what it takes to be proud of the person I am and never stop learning. I know by doing this I will be inspiring people to follow their dreams and supporting those less fortunate.”

And no doubt a 6th world champion might be included in that list. We know it’s a year away, but we’re already calling it!

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