As a consequence of the dominance of men in recreational Australian surfing culture, the productive potential of the relationships between women who surf has been largely overlooked. However, as a (growing) minority, women who surf tend to know other women who surf, making relationships between women significant. This discussion explores the tensions in how women who surf in Byron Bay avoid, and yet engage in, the male-dominated politics of recreational surfing, and how this has shaped my own research contributions to surfing culture. In particular, it was their focus on relationships that impacted my approach to research and cultural participation. The women I interviewed were more interested in thinking through the possibilities, ethics and effects of various forms of action for women who surf more broadly, rather than explaining which were the most effective for getting more waves themselves. This had implications for my own research practice, and how I conducted myself in ‘contributing to the public good’ by producing resources for cultural change that aimed to be ‘relevant to the actual, concrete lives of women’.