Bondi Girls Rule The Waves
Stroll down to Bondi on the first Saturday of each month and you’ll probably see a strange sight. A flock of wetsuit-clad girls will be cheering, laughing, singing or dancing, while staring out to sea. Follow their gaze and you’ll spot some surfers wearing bright coloured rash vests – probably having a chat, while muscling the fellas off their waves.
What you’re seeing is the Bondi Girls Surfriders (BGSR) – 60 girls who get together each month for a relaxed competition, and spend the rest of their time meeting up for free surfs. From pro surfers to absolute beginners, and teenagers to 50-year-olds, there are ladies from all walks of life who all have one thing in common – a love of surfing.
The club’s mission is to help each other meet more girls who surf; get heaps of waves; support each other in the quest to improve; work together to make the club lots of fun; explore new surfing spots; promote women’s surfing in the Eastern Beaches and wider community… and always have a great time.
It all started back in 1999 when local surfers Brenda Miley and Jo Evenden got sick of competing against the boys in the local surf comps. They rounded up 25 girls to start the BGSR – one of Australia’s first female-only surf clubs – and marked the beginning of a new movement in surfing for women. In the early days, Brenda and Jo would lug wetsuits and boards down to the beach each month for anyone who was keen for a go. But the club’s come a long way since those early days – it now boasts a big tent that’s set up for comps, qualified judges and a mentoring program for young surfers.
Current president Olivia Lucas is on a mission to spread the word throughout the Eastern Suburbs.
“If you’re a girl who surfs, then you’d be crazy not to join,” she says. “Through the club, I’ve gotten to know so many local surfers who are as excited about it as I am. But the best bit is, the competitions are laidback – it’s much more focused on encouraging each other to have a go than trying to win.”
One of the fastest growing groups is the ‘adult beginners’ division. These girls lap up any advice they can get from the advanced girls – and the evidence is in their surfing.
“You should see how much they improve through the season,” Olivia says. “Some of them have only surfed once or twice when they join and by the end of the season they’re catching green waves with plenty of style!”
But it’s not just competitions. Every year the club organises weekends away, which promise to be jam-packed with surfing, relaxation and shenanigans. Plus, the girls meet for a sunrise session every Wednesday. Look for the bunch of chicks at the Bondi lifeguard tower at 6.10am, getting psyched for a 6.15am paddle out.
So do you want to get involved in the Bondi Girls Surfriders? Of course you do! Go to bondigirlssurfriders.com.au for more information or just head down to the southern car park steps in Bondi on the first Saturday of the month at 7.30am. The first comp of the season is on April 2.