The world can be a dangerous yet beautiful place, full of adventures, stunning beaches, and surfable waves. Sadly at times, traveling as a woman might not just be the smooth ride through a perfect barrel like you'd expect. Whether you started surfing when you were little, or quite the opposite - you might have picked up surfing later on in life, the love we carry towards the ocean and its waves, is equally strong. As is our desire to chase this passion.
In the last three years, I have undertaken a few solo surf trips totally unprepared, figuring out things along the way. This is what I've learned:
The general safety travel rules:
- Let your friends and family know where you headed off to
- Do your research before the trip
- Trust your intuition
- Stay positive
- Be aware
Now that we got the serious stuff out of the way, let's look at the fun stuff:
Top tips for the NEW surfer girl:
- My number one advice is - it's totally fine to freak out here and there! Let's face it, surfing isn't easy, especially during those first two or so challenging years. Accept that you may feel nervous or uncomfortable out in the lineup, but know that you got this and sooner or later the discomfort will pass.
- If you can, book yourself for a surf camp, or sign up for a surf class or two. This is a great way to learn about the wave conditions and possible hazards, but also help you boost your confidence AND you'll get to make new surfer friends.
- Be respectful in the water - in the world of surfing, at any age and anywhere in the world, this is the golden rule. Respect the locals, smile, be polite and friendly. Sooner or later they will let you catch the set wave you have been patiently waiting for.
- Respect the ocean. I've always respected the ocean and wouldn't dare boss it around being all cocky. Well, I've tried one or twice and got my peachy bottom spanked, you feel me right? You simply don't mess with the ocean. Duh.
- Familiarise with the conditions. Locating the channel, knowing about rip currents, whether it was reef or sand bottom, where to get in and out, what is the best tide and if there is anything you have to be aware of are all important things to be aware of before paddling out.
Top tips for the lifelong surfing mermaids:
- Search any surf related Facebook groups or pages in the area you'll be visiting. Find a local surf community group, and bravely ask someone if they would like to 'take' you surfing to get familiar with the conditions at first (check number 5 above).
- Be friendly and open. Chat to people on the beach or in the lineup, maybe not necessary to have company for your next surf (it's a solo surf trip after all) but simply to find out more about the area - getting to know cool spots you'd like to see and things you might wanna do.
- Be aware of the conditions. If you're heading out alone and there is only a very few people out surfing on a usually crowded spot, ask the lifeguards about the situation. Surf sessions in conditions such as mercury water and surfing breaks near river mouths after heavy rain should be avoided. It's not only dirty and full of bacteria but may also attract sharks.
- Paddle like you mean it. It can be nice and comforting talking to other surfers if you're feeling a little uncomfortable. But GIRL - all that has to pass when you see a wave approaching. Paddle for your life (a mean paddle face is totally allowed!) showing the other surfers that THAT wave is yours. I promise you, even the most wave greedy men will pull back if they see your mean determined surfer girl paddle face (we all have one, let's be honest).
- Breathe! Yes, girls can be badass and paddle out when the waves are way out of our comfort zone. I bet you've been there with me? Watching all those surfers catching waves while you cannot get yourself to paddle for one. Feeling humbled by the ocean is to totally normal, what does count, however, is the fact that you paddled out there, to begin with. Own that!
I am currently in Australia, surprisingly or not - on my 3rd solo surf trip! Sharing all the tips and tricks I got up my wetsuit with you, so yeah - this solo surfer girl thing is totally doable!
My top 3 surf-trip picks:
- MONA Free Love One-Piece swimsuit (ginko garden/ mona drops) that makes me feel both sassy & badass at the same time
- Pata Sudaka Surf & Yoga Adventure Camp in Hawaii, giving me the best memories and an epic experience to always go back to https://www.patasudakasurftrips.com/surf-camp-hawaii/
- Self-Care Playbook that keeps my mind and feelings at check https://www.thehappiempire.com/all-products/self-care-playbook/
One last tip for all of you surfer girls out there - be proud of yourself for each and every time you paddle out there by yourself, and most of all - have fun and stay safe!
Written by Veronica Blanar