What changed was the success of a fundraising campaign set up by two fans to raise the prize money she never received for winning the world title. The goal was $25,000 but, after a story in that masthead, it topped $60,000 – leaving Menczer moved to tears and “very, very proud” to be recognized.
“I was blown away by the generosity of people,” she said.
The humble Menczer donated anything over $25,000 to people she felt were more deserving.
This included a father-of-five in the Philippines with the same autoimmune disease – he bought a tuk-tuk which he named after him – an association of disabled surfers and an autoimmune disease charity.
Menczer, 51, still lives “as poor as possible”, but the donations have eased the stress on his health.
The manufacturers of Girls can’t surf, director Christopher Nelius and producer Michaela Perske, launched the fundraising campaign for a statue of her in Bondi. It would acknowledge that she is the only world surfing champion – male or female – from one of the most famous surf spots in the country.
“We were inspired to do something that makes people feel good and honors a piece of Bondi history,” Nelius said.
The statue, which is estimated to cost $150,000 from tender to installation, would remedy the injustice that only 6% of Sydney’s more than 200 public statues are women.
Menczer, who had to stop driving a school bus because of the COVID-19 risk and became a carer for a man with multiple sclerosis, would be thrilled to have a statue.
“What matters most to me is encouraging the new generation, especially young girls,” she said. “It’s being a positive role model.
“The statue is a positive story in every way because I don’t just represent people with disabilities, I also represent the gay community and women.”
Menczer would like the statue to show her surfing as a child and thinks it should be right next to the South Bondi shower.
“It’s where I spent my whole life growing up,” she said. “Just hanging on the grass hill over there or on the sand.”
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said Menczer would feature in the new council stories room in the refurbished Bondi Pavilion, but she was eager to explore options for the statue with the filmmakers.
While hoping the campaign would not distract from flood relief, Menczer said the north coast needed a hub from Sydney to direct generators and other emergency equipment to the area and hoped the City residents could help house thousands of people who would be homeless in the coming weeks. .
She criticized the “pathetic” lack of support from federal and state governments and the poor deployment of Australian Defense Force personnel so far.
The GoFundMe campaign is here.