westerlyOne of Australia’s most iconic former surfers has completed a six-year journey to become a woman, having recently recovered from gender-reassignment surgery.

Sixty-two-year-old Westerly Windina, formerly known as surfing great Peter Drouyn, became a woman in 2007 but was unable to undergo surgery for six years due to personal and financial reasons.

“It seemed like at some stage I needed a miracle to have the operation because I was in total poverty, living in this housing commission place – just no money,” Windina told Tracks magazine. “It looked like nothing was going to happen and I started to become frustrated.”

Windina returned to the surfing community for the first time since becoming a woman in February, receiving a warm welcome from fellow surfers when she made an appearance at the annual Surfing Australia dinner.

Drouyn reshaped professional surfing in the 1960s and ’70s, winning numerous titles and pioneering new surfing techniques, board designs and competitive systems like man-on-man surfing that are still used today. He was inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame in 1991.

Westerly, a documentary tracking Windina’s transformation and surfing past, will be released later this year, with backers raising more than $60,000 on crowdsourcing site Kickstarter in December to fund the film.

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