Surfing clinic creates sisterhood among girls

Participants of ‘Fiji Girls Surf Clinic’ at Natadola beach in Sigatoka on Saturday. Picture: MASADA VUIKADAVU/SUPPLIED

The Fiji Surfing Association is moving into a space beyond competitive surfing and started to play a significant role in environmental activism.

Last Saturday, young girls took part in a ‘Fiji Girls Surf Clinic’ at Natadola beach which focused on female empowerment to learn surfing and also about ocean stewardship and environmental awareness.

Fiji Surfing president Hannah Bennett has been running the clinic since 2017 with the hopes of giving more young girls in Fiji the opportunity to try surfing.

“My vision for this clinic has always been to spark inspiration, create a strong sense of sisterhood, help girls realise their potential and start the conversation around ocean stewardship,” Bennett said.

“This year was the first time we partnered with InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa who were so kind to host our session and provide the participants with lunch. We have also partnered with them to run regular beach cleanups at Natadola due to mass pollution that is taking place by beach-goers.

“Our partnership has taken the clinic to a new level where the girls could really maximise their experience. Everyone caught some waves, made new friendships, and took home gift bags donated by Rise Beyond The Reef, a non-profit organisation focused on female empowerment.

“Each gift bag also had a Reef Safe sunscreen from Dilo Up Handmade Products which tied in the whole theme around ocean stewardship and looking after our coral reefs and beaches. I think the girls took away physical aspects of our lesson and are more inspired to join the surfing community.”

She said Fiji had a very unique surf culture and there was so much potential to scout for talent in teh coastal communities.

“Fijians are naturally drawn to the ocean and have a keen sense of their surroundings which makes surfing a very attractive sport. The Fiji Surfing Association has in place programs that develop surfers from Suva to Nadi of all ages with the help of government funding from the Fiji National Sports Commission.

“The FSA has a full calendar this year from junior development training to open competitions and beach cleanups. FSA is moving into a space beyond competitive surfing and starting to play a significant role in environmental activism. A movement we are passionate about joining!”

She added this year, they registered 33 participants between the ages 10-30 years. Because of the increase, they were always looking for new partners and like-minded brands to support their initiatives.

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