Empowering South African girls through surfing

Empowering South African Girls Through Surfing


In 2016 we decided to focus on girl participation. Last year, through our M&E we learnt that girls felt scared to walk to the beach and also nervous to surf with the boys. We listened to their voices and implemented changes to our programme:

  1. To ensure safe access to the program, the organisation uses bicycles donated by Global Bike through Beyond Sport and coaches now accompany the girls to the beach site.
  2. We also introduced girl-only sessions at two of our sites.

This has resulted in female attendance growing from 13 – 30%.

Bicycles plus girls-only sessions are leading to increased female participation.

We have also recently conducted focus groups, interviews and art sessions with the girls. These have shown that they attend because they need “somewhere safe to be after school” and that surfing makes them feel “brave, calm and loved” and like they “belong somewhere important” and that surfing makes them “stronger on the outside and the inside”.

Surfer girls during a recent art focus group

One of the poster created by the girls to answer the question, “What is it like to be a girl surfer?”