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Film Completed   /  Claire Gorman

Bigger Than Me

Filmed over ten years - one woman's quest to surf big waves.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Claire Gorman

  • PRODUCER Claire Gorman/Anna Grieve



Bigger Than Me is a female coming-of-age film about the complexity of being a girl and the challenges that drive you as a woman to take on the elemental power of big waves.

Wrenna is a young woman with a fearless dream - a 6’ 2” natural with a body built for the ocean, she wants to be a big wave surfer. But she finds the discipline and sacrifice required to be a professional, extremely challenging. Growing up in New Jersey with hippy parents, her teenage years were spent caring for her younger siblings and schooling herself in the local library. At 19, Wrenna makes her pilgrimage to Hawaii's North Shore risking it all on big waves.

She is confronted by the pressures of carving out a professional sporting life as a woman and without a sponsor she works two jobs to support her dream. Filming over ten years, from Oahu’s iconic big wave, Waimea Bay to the cold waters of Mavericks to the ultimate big wave of Pe'ahi (Jaws), we travel with Wrenna through the seasons, the highs and the lows of facing your fears - to find out how much bigger you can be.

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  • $20,000.00

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  • December 2021

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Why? Because young women need more ambitious role models.

This is a story about an independent woman seeking to become bigger than she ever imagined life could be when she was young. When filming began in 2010 only a handful of women around the world were seeking to ride big waves. And today there are few women who accomplish big wave surfing, fewer still who become professional.

Ocean sports always been a male domain and there are other films about gender inequality in surfing.

This film is about women finding their passion and following their dreams. It’s about dedication, ambition and not giving up. Being true to yourself and your potential as a woman.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Most men who take on big wave surfing have been raised by Dad teaching them to stand on a board as soon as they can walk. Wrenna came to surfing at the age of 16. She sought the big waves out and never looked back. This is a candid, intimate portrait of a young woman risking everything in the face of the ocean. Our vision is that this is an inspirational film for girls and young women motivating them to take bigger challenges in their own lives.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We seek to showcase and celebrate the female adventurous spirit we hope to make women in the outdoors more visible. Claire’s love for the ocean and love for filmmaking are intrinsically linked. Growing up on Phillip Island, Victoria and now teaching surfing to primary school children on Bruny Island in Tasmania she is compelled to tell stories of other young women who thrive in this natural arena. We seek to inspire increased interest in the benefits for young girls, and really all women, in engaging with the ocean and taking on physical challenges whatever the degree of difficulty. Bigger Than Me will encourage, by example, women to empower themselves. An inspirational film that motivates young women to pursue ocean sports in their teenage years not necessarily for professional competition but to be the best they can be.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

By showing the challenges and triumphs of one woman's quest to be a big wave surfer we seek to break down the whole approach of sexualizing women's relationship to the ocean and surfing. By demonstrating their equal capacity for adrenaline filled challenge, big wave surfing will be more inclusive for women. Through forging a like minded community through this documentary we believe this will encourage younger women to be stronger in body and mind and not put limitations on their capacity.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?


Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Change views of big wave surfing, the 'beach babe' stereotypes and embrace the idea that all women can benefit from a closer connection to the natural world. Encouraging a more diverse and joyful women’s surf culture.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

The film is largely shot by Claire over a 10 year period giving it the wonderful possibility for an audience to intimately observe a young girl learning to challenge herself and becoming an independent women. Our measure for success is an increase in women's interest and participation in ocean sports during their teenage years and increased visibility for women in the outdoors. Our success will be measured in mothers ( and fathers) who encourage the new generation of girls to grow up and embrace risk. Taking up the challenge of surfing and the benefits of the ocean.