I’ve always said that being a surfer is more than just fun; it’s a blessing and a responsibility. You’re responsible for not only your own wellbeing, but also for the wellbeing of the environment and everyone around you. I guess it’s this sense of responsibility that led me to become a surf instructor in the first place, and the same responsibility that has me feeling rather nostalgic as I watch from a distance as my surf girls keep progressing.
I’ve taught surfing for several years now at the Jamnesia Surf Camp in 8 Mile Bull Bay, Jamaica. I’ve introduce a lot of people, young and old, to what I consider the most beautiful and fulfilling sport there is. And though I can’t remember the number of individuals I have had the honour of introducing to the sport, what I can say is that since I held my very first weeklong all-girl learn-to-surf summer camp, Surf Like A Girl, I have developed a sense of responsibility for all the young surfer girls I’ve trained.
A typical first day of camp involves a little chit-chat where we share a bit about ourselves and our goals in life. This is when the walls start to break down and friendships begin to form…I mean, a certain level of friendship is gonna be necessary, especially since I’ll be getting all up in everybody’s personal space for an entire week. But despite the mandatory girly bonding experience, I find that in each set of girls there are a few who remain friends of mine even years after their first camp.
They have remained dedicated to the sport and passionate about improving their skills. And it’s as a result of these newfound friends of mine that I started Surf Girls Jamaica (SGJA) – Jamaica’s premier all-girl surf club and team. SGJA provides a safe, non-discriminatory and nurturing space in which girls of all ages can come to develop their skills and benefit from mentorship opportunities that will allow them to continue to grow individually and as a team.
These girls are a source of inspiration and strength for me. They keep me focused on the mission, and are constant positive reminders of why I started this in the first place.