Photo Credit: Alexandra Uzik

Your Stories

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Steffi Bidochka

 I grew up with an intense love for the ocean, which was strange to everyone around me in my little landlocked hometown. My mom shared this love and I remember she would pull up live surf cams of Cali and Australia and we would watch the surfers every morning from the time I was 6 years old. My mom is definitely where the love of ‘the idea of’ surfing and the ocean came from, but the moment I got on a board for the first time was the beginning of the love/addiction for me.”

Martina Audrey Vicencio

“I love how the ocean has the magic to heal – physically, mentally and emotionally, I can go to the beach and drag an invisible baggage of hurt and distress and I would leave the place changed and a better version of myself. I have been through a lot before I started surfing – I was deeply depressed and completely lost with my life. I was stress, bitter and angry when I was diagnosed with an incurable skin disease, it was my breaking point and left me crying almost every night. Imagine for someone who loves the ocean so much being told to avoid the sun because the vitiligo might worsen over her body. The thought to never go back to the beach never crossed my mind not even once and it lead me to surf at San Juan, La Union. Surfing saved me. “

Dominique Miller

“It was my round 2 heat and I had to place in the top 2 to advance to the quarterfinals. I was in third place most of the time and with 5min remaining I was able to get a a decent wave score which bumped me into second place above my friend Gabby. Just a min later she got a wave that moved her into second again…I was down to 2min left in my heat and I needed a low 4 (score) to bump me back into second. I was getting anxious and worried and like oh no I can’t lose I don’t want to get knocked out…no not after how far I come and how well I did in last years one….”

Elizabeth Pepin Silva

“Having been surfing since 1985, I’ve watched women’s surfing change enormously. I used to be one of the few women in the water in San Francisco, now most of the time half the lineup is women. I think this is going to continue – not only will more women take up surfing, but the lineup will become increasingly diverse. My hope is that the surf industry and the surf media will finally notice this and stops focusing on white male surfers and begins to really reflect the diversity we are all seeing in the lineup.”

Dr. Meade Krosby

“As a scientist who studies how climate change affects our natural world (and what we can do about it) surfing is absolutely key to my emotional well-being. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the climate crisis, to get lost in fear and despair over what’s happening and what’s coming if we don’t take action, to be constantly enraged at the appalling injustice of it. I can carry so much grief and anger with me to the beach, but the ocean can take it – surfing washes it all away, and that momentary reprieve helps sustain my resilience in working toward a better future for the people and places I love.”

Christina McGoldrick

“Surfing feels deeply spiritual and sacred to me, because it’s something I had to earn. When I first tried to surf as a teenager, I expected it to come easily like riding a bike. It was NOT (duh!). I would go out to the wrong spots on random weekends and I never progressed. I had unrealistic expectations and put so much pressure on myself that I ended up discouraged and gave up. College and career took over. By the time I was 30, I felt creatively and emotionally depleted and knew I needed an outlet. I always felt like surfing was tapping me on the shoulder to give it another shot, so I finally committed for real.”

Summer

“I’ve been traveling long before I started surfing – Climbing mountains and exploring different islands and caves. Yet it was surfing that really opened my eyes to the effects of pollution to our ocean and the life under and above it. This inspired me to make a brand out of what I had been crafting for a while now (@parasadiwa). I make natural soaps and skin care products that travellers can opt to use, rather than the usual shelf bought stuff. I first made these things for myself so that I do not further pollute the ocean when I travel. Then I decided that I could share what I create, and that decision gave me a platform to be able to make the people I encounter aware that they have a choice when it comes to their consumerism.”

CJ Eklund

“I love that women’s surfing is usually free of the aggression that you can sometimes find amongst the men and I really love the sisterhood that seems to bond us, even if we don’t know each other. I was once surfing at a break in Australia and having trouble catching anything until I saw huge pod of dolphins. My head wasn’t clear so I decided to paddle further out to try and just get a better view of the pod. I was sitting there, taking it all in when the pod started to swim right for me. They came so close that I actually teared up with emotion and then out of nowhere a girl next to me says “it’s beautiful, isn’t it” which scared the life out of me. I hadn’t realised that she’d paddled out after to me to see if I was okay and then sat there watching the pod with me when she realised why I’d paddled out. It’s things like that that makes me love the women’s surf culture.”

Miranda West Darley

“It’s interesting to see the varied reactions I receive from guys on days when I’m the only woman out in overhead conditions. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s hostile. I’ve found that bad vibes in the water present the opportunity to go inward, focus on why I’m there, who I’m there for, and let my surfing do my talking. Letting it get you down or needing your guy friends back you up, isn’t going to shift anything. Strong, graceful and resilient women doing their thing will!”

Deepa Shah

“I am a qualified dentist, and have worked hard in this field to become a clinical teacher at a top postgraduate dental school in the UK, and to work with the big guns in London. But in this arena there are very few women. It’s a man’s world and I realised I needed to work that extra bit harder to be recognised, to get opportunities, to be allowed into the ‘boys club’. Surfing helped me cope with this – it gave me strength and empowerment and made me feel physically and mentally strong. It also gave me an escape from all the pressure – somewhere to just be me – the easy-going, unassuming, fun-loving lady that I think I am.”

Lottie Lewis

There is nothing I love more than packing up my van and my dog and driving away. We’ve tripped down the coast of Europe a few times and had an amazing time hanging out and surfing, wearing next to nothing and eating figs from the trees. When I was 21 I hitchhiked from Nicaragua to Mexico with my dog and my surfboard, sleeping in hammocks and surfing in a bikini. It was a tough trip, at times pretty scary, but unbelievable and once in a lifetime. If any girls EVER feel like they can’t travel the world alone, all the advice I can give is that you just have to go for it. Don’t be scared, just jump!

Letícia Parada Moreira

“There was a moment, right at the beginning, that I was bothered by the looks the guys gave me. It was a look like “hey, what are you doing here?” “Bet you can’t be alone here in the outside” “Don’t disturb our session”. And I liked when my friend went with me. But then college was over and we had little time together and I started to go alone to the sea. I thought to myself “Hey, your life at sea can’t stop for that. You just need a 10-minute walk to leave home and get to the beach”. And since then it has become a habit in my life. Currently there are several guys who respect me at sea. I kind of am local here because I’m every single day in my home spot. Flat days or not. I’m there.

Leslie Palotas

Women are gaining strength, community, and self-respect for what their bodies and minds are capable of, not solely by how they appear to others. Women are increasingly defining their success by what they can do and achieve, making what others think about them less influential. Genuinely empowered women don’t improve themselves by belittling other women. Instead of getting caught up in toxic cycles of judging and cutting each other down, women empowered by surfing can choose to help others unlock their own personal sources of strength to persevere together against life’s external challenges.

Giselle Carrillo

“The first time I stepped into the ocean with a surfboard, I knew how to float- but hardly knew how to swim. I did not catch a single wave that day. The sensation of being in the ocean, balancing on a board, and attempting to pop up was all so physically foreign to me. It was like a fish out of water- or rather, a human in water. It’s an element we don’t naturally belong in. But the second we left that lesson, I knew I had to keep trying. We drove to the store and bought two Wavestorms and ordered a couple of wetsuits online. Our tiny Venice apartment became a surf hut overnight.”

Dr. Dani Burt

“After my motorcycle crash I was able to get back to skateboarding and learned how to snowboard. The one thing I was missing was the ocean. The ocean has always been home for me. The water has always been able to wash away all the negative thoughts and pressure that was going on in my life at that time. It gave me a chance to clear my head and feel free. I needed that more than ever after I lost my leg. But at the time, there was no prosthetic leg to surf with so I had to create one with my prosthetist, Michael Stull. It took some trial and error but we eventually dialed it in. The rest is history.”

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