Jellies and stingrays cruising by your toes, sharks lurking, waiting to pull you to a watery grave; for some, the most daunting aspect of learning to surf is convincing yourself to get in the ocean. But as surf instructor, Monica Thatcher, sketches a graph of sandbars and currents on a surfside chalkboard, and points out the difference between “good fins” and “bad fins,” learning to surf becomes a tad less intimidating.
“I’ve always been in the ocean,” said Oakley rider Sage Erickson, “but I think a lot people are afraid of getting held under, getting hit by their board, or sharks now-a-days. So I see that being that hardest part [of surfing.]“
Erickson was on-hand as Oakley and Girls Learn To Ride (GLTR) hosted a women’s surfing camp June 6-7 at Mission Bay Aquatic Center in San Diego, CA. GLTR has helped build women’s confidence in the water and on a board since 1999, hosting 800 action sports clinics and camps nationwide.
The women were treated to a lesson on water safety and the art of the pop-up, before suiting up and putting theory into practice. Women ranging in age from 12-40 paddled out, including 20-year-old Cindey Hernandez who had taken two surfing lessons before and was stoked to ride a board again. A recent surgery put surfing on hold for Hernandez, but with the help of GLTR she was back at it again. After battling the whitewash for a few hours and catching a few waves, Hernandez had a swollen ankle and a big surf-stoked smile.
The novice surfers left the beach with ocean safety knowledge, a full belly of burritos and the feeling that only surfing can provide. Each surfer also received a gift bag that included a towel and sunglasses. All in all, the event was a success – and as more companies branch out to support women’s surfing, we can expect to see more great events like this one in the future.