Surfer Stephanie Gilmore of Australia

Stephanie Gilmore of Australia surfs at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach in 2010. A new ad she appears in has sparked controversy. (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times / August 1, 2010)

A top women's surfer wants Orange County surf clothing company Roxy to stop using sexy images of its sponsored female surfers and instead focus on their athleticism.

Three-time world champion surfer Cori Schumacher hoped to send a message by delivering to the Huntington Beach company more than 20,000 signatures from people upset about what they said is the ads' focus on women's bodies instead of their graceful skills in the water.

Schumacher said she was upset by what she described as a recent "all sex, no surf" Roxy ad that showed Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore partially clothed in bed, then showering, as a promotion for a Roxy-sponsored surf contest.

"As a lifelong surfer, I've seen the sexism and objectification women face on a daily basis in this sport," Schumacher said in a news release. "Roxy's recent ad ... reinforces the inequalities women face in surfing and other sports.

"Surfing should be a place where women can show they're strong and powerful. Ads like Roxy's ads prove women are still navigating gender bias that reinforces harmful stereotypes."

A spokesman for Roxy's Huntington Beach based parent, Quiksilver Inc., did not respond to a request for comment.

Schumacher launched her campaign through the website change.org and collected signatures from male and female surfers, parents and fans of Roxy products. Several people who signed the online petition left critical comments about Roxy's ads.

"I have a daughter who really pays attention to this stuff," said a mother from Virginia who identified herself as Isabel M. "I believe in supporting athleticism. I do not want to buy products that encourage girls to become sex objects."

Shares of Quiksilver fell 11 cents, or 1.7%, to $6.56 on Thursday.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com