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Documentary about surfing legend Peter Drouyn’s gender transformation into Westerly Windina.
Westerly is a feature length documentary film about surf icon Peter Drouyn and his controversial metamorphosis into Westerly Windina.
Peter Drouyn was one of surfing’s first superstars. A true visionary, he dominated the international competitive ranks in the ’60s and ’70s, changed the way modern surf competition are run, and introduced surfing to China. He was an actor, a lawyer, a father, a ladies’ man, an ideas man and most of all, an entertainer.
But there was much that Peter Drouyn kept private. During his competitive years, he was hypersensitive and introspective amid a culture that was often macho, myopic, and sexist. For most of his career he felt ostracized. In the ’80s he drifted away from competitive surfing and all but disappeared.
In 2002, Peter suffered a traumatic surfing accident that nearly drowned him. Not long after, Peter’s feminine side fully emerged. “It was a supernova,” said Westerly. “It just kicked in one night, and suddenly Peter went, Westerly was there.”
In 2008, Peter Drouyn announced on Australian national television that he was living as a woman. His new name, she said, was Westerly Windina. The surf community—and Australia in general—was astonished. Since then, Westerly has been living in public housing on Australia’s Gold Coast. Her life is not easy. She is alone, poor, and often taunted by her neighbors.
We will explore Westerly’s past as a man, document her upcoming gender-reassignment operation in Thailand, and follow her post-op as she acclimates to the newest chapter of her enigmatic journey.
FROM WESTERLY TO PETER
Introducing 62-year-old surfer Westerly Windina! In addition to spending time with Westerly, we meet her family, friends and son. Using Westerly’s memories of Peter, we will follow Peter Drouyn’s rise to fame as a surfer and interview Peter’s contemporaries, showcasing Peter’s illustrious career – from 1964 Australian Junior Champion to international acclaim in the early ‘70s. We will also explore Peter’s influence on surfing: from surfboard design, to Bob Evan’s 1973 film “Drouyn”, to Peter’s invention of Man-on-Man surfing at the 1979 Stubbies Classic at Burleigh Heads in Australia’s sunshine state, Queensland.
THE CHAMELEON AND THE CHIMERA
For Peter, being a surf superstar was not enough. He is accepted into Australia’s most prestigious acting school, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) where his contemporaries include Mel Gibson and Judy Davis. Peter appears as a nude male centerfold in Cleo magazine and stars in Elle Macpherson’s first TV commercial as well as films, TV programs and plays. Peter introduces surfing to China – a historical feat, supported by the Chinese government. He invents “The Drouyn Method” surf teaching system, which brings the Method style of acting to the surf. Peter coaches 1988 world champion Barton Lynch. He also launches the Wave Stadium idea – a Vegas meets Sea World extravaganza and founds a modeling school – The Golden Girls – on the Gold Coast. With so much going on you would think he wouldn’t have time for anything else, but in the midst of it all, Peter travels to South Africa to find a wife, bringing her back to Australia. Together they have a son, Zachary, in 1989. Peter fades into obscurity in the late ’80s and through the 1990s. This period in Australia is economically tough, described as “recession we had to have” by treasurer Paul Keating. To make ends meet, Peter becomes a taxi driver and does odd jobs, but it doesn’t work. He hits rock bottom.
FROM PETER TO WESTERLY
Although Peter liked dressing in women’s clothes as a boy it wasn’t until 2002 when Peter suffers a fateful surfing accident that Westerly surfaces. Six years later Peter introduces Westerly Windina on Australian television. Westerly wants to study law and sells Peter’s trophies to cover her university expenses. She earns her degree in 2009 and starts a practice. However her plan to become a lawyer is short-lived and she is back to square one. Despondent and broke, she moves into a housing commission dwelling on the Gold Coast and lives off unemployment benefits, still surfing and trying to find a way to “complete”. Westerly’s big dream is to undergo gender reassignment surgery, to become an entertainer in Hollywood, to become an international superstar. Which brings us to the present – Westerly’s new life as a fully realized woman. What will her new life bring?