See the surfer girl in the line up? – Here’s 10 reasons why she is so special

It takes a certain personality to take beating after beating, be outnumbered by men day after day, & still go out there chasing a dream. This is why that surfer girl is so special.


Bobbing in the water in-between sets the other day, I started looking at the faces all around me. Here in El Salvador, on this right-hand point break, women surrounded me. There were women of all colours, of all shapes, surfing all sorts of boards. Women learning to surf, and women speeding down the line with so much confidence you couldn’t help but gasp in awe. There was serious style in this lineup and everyone knew it. I smiled quietly to myself. What a pleasure to be amongst this strong female company. But I couldn’t help think of all the challenges that a surfer girl would have faced to get here to become surfers.


Jade Chang Sheppard Surfing
Jade Chang Sheppard ripping it up in Popoyo, Nicaragua.


Surfing is f**king hard

If you think about it, it’s so challenging that even doing a turn is considered a trick. For women, it’s always going to be that bit harder. It’s a numbers game and unlike that one surf in El Salvador, women make up the smaller percentage in the sport, and in most line-ups. But the surfer girls that are out there, that have made time in their day to paddle out and sit confidently in a line up full of men, are defying the numbers. She’s out there because of pure love and a drive to grow, to progress and flow. To fall in love over and over, or as Andy Irons said ‘to be kissed by god’. Because that’s what surfing feels like.

So here’s to all the women that surf. To the girls paddling out day-after-day. Here’s the reason why surfer girls are special.


#1 A surfer girl doesn’t give up

From getting smashed on the shore break to diving headfirst into the sandbank. Learning to surf is hard knock, after hard knock. It takes a strong character to graduate those early days, push on through, and not give up. She is the picture of determination.


Jade Sheppard Surfing
Jade Chang Sheppard on a cruisy day in Nicaragua


#2 She can handle the pressure

Not every surf break is welcoming, and not every surfer is kind. Some line-ups can be stressful places, wanting to break you down with their bad vibes, and make you paddle in. To be able to take that pressure and work with it, is a gift in itself. How’s that for resilience?

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#3 She is driven and ambitious

Surfing is a 10-year sport. Meaning, it takes years to read the waves, let alone get good and start to ride like you actually know what you are doing! Any surfer that has put the time in to get good shows incredible dedication.


Jennifer Diamond Surfing
Jennifer Diamond, circ 1997. La Jolla, California


#4 She is independent

Up at dawn, first out the door. Solo surfs and travels to distant lands. This girl is happy in her own skin, with her own company. She happy to go about it alone.


#5 She is not concerned with looking her best all the time

Duck dives, hair in face, sunburn weathered skin, tan marks, chipped pedicures, sand under her mails, brittle and breaking hair, cuts and bruises, a sun-tanned stripe on one leg from your leash, the occasional tampon string hanging out your… you know what! … Surfing mostly, well it’s not pretty! But who the hell cares? A real woman that surfs doesn’t give two sh**s!

You might like: For her eyes only – Surfer girl tips for girls


Raquel Heckart Barrel Riding


#6 She is strong, athletic and nimble

Surfing takes so many muscles moving in harmony to navigate both water and waves. To take those beatings, to paddle out when it’s big, to fight rip tides, to balance in the right spot on your surfboard, and to shift your weight so gracefully between your front and back feet. You need a body that works well and a body that you are in tune with. Surfer girls show day after day, how wonderfully capable, strong and beautiful their bodies are.


Woman with Surfboard on beach
Jane Mold in Bali completely stoked after a mellow session


You might like: How to paddle stronger and surf better


#7 She is patient

Sometimes the ocean does not speak, and the wait between sets is long. In these moments you learn patience. Or when some dick drops in on you over-and-over or paddles around you repeatedly. Again, patience. “She breaths deep” is a virtue that surfer girls know a lot about.


You might like: 6 tips on surfing in a crowded lineup


#8 She appreciates beauty

Surfing takes you to some beautiful places. Spending time in the ocean, in different shades of light, during storms, during day-break, as the last light disappears and you try to steal one last wave in. Surfing shows you the beauty in the world in a raw, untouched, and magical way. It’s not just the surfing that you get addicted to. It’s the beauty of the ocean and life itself.


Silvia Nabuco Surfing
Silvia Nabuco charging the North Shore, Oahu


#9 She’s empathetic

She’s been there: stuck on the shore break, caught in the rip, nose-diving on pop-up, bogging a rail on every turn attempt, getting her hair caught under her hand as she pops up! She knows how it feels and she can emphasise.


#10 She’s a bad-ass

Surfing is one of the hardest sports in the world. Like golf, you are always millimeters away from failure. To become good at it means you will have taken a pretty physical, mental, and emotional beating in your time. Surfing is dangerous, she boldly takes calculated risks every time she paddles out. This makes YOU my gorgeous surfer girlfriend, are a certified bad-ass!


Woman doing yoga at the pool
A post surf stretch by the pool in Acapulco


So next time you see a girl in the lineup, encourage, support and celebrate her. She has conquered many challenges to get there, against the numbers and she never gave up. That is something to celebrate and encourage.

YOU my surfer girlfriend, are amazing!



Like this article? Let us know in the comments below and spread that stoke!


I am a writer and wanna-be big wave surfer. Surfing is my muse. I write about it and how it’s teaching me to live better. I hold certification as a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga instructor, and lifeguard instructor. My story “100 Days in Mexico” of how a solo road trip surfing my way through Mexico changed my life can be found here


  1. HA HA HA… Forget about the hard-to-love elements of dating a surfer! We’re rough and dirty but pumped til the end and always make it work! You know you would not be down with living anyone else’s life but yours! And how awesome will your kids be?! Surfers love harder than anyone AYEEE

  2. I met my best friend surfing. We were the only two girls out at La Jolla Shores that worked the dawn patrol. We kept running into each other and became best friends.

    • I have made so many amazing friends through surfing too. In fact, I would say mostly all my friends have come from snowboard or surfing. It is such a wonderful community of amazing people.

  3. Beautiful! Where and when was that day in El Salvador? I was there a few weeks ago and one day at El Zonte there were so many awesome women in the lineup, it was glorious!

  4. 10 Reasons not to date a Surfer dude:

    #1) He won’t remember you or give a shit about your birthday.
    The waves are on brah. Cousin’s funeral? Nah brah. Always more weddings and funerals…might not have a swell like this again. “Twice a century, the ocean lets us know just how small we really are.” There will be a subtly-re-paraphrased Point Break quote for any flakey reason he has to not do whatever shit you want to do.

    #2) He won’t hear you.

    Neither emotionally nor literally. Surfer’s ear takes its toll on the audio-receptive experience after years of chasing cold swell. Closes up the ear canal tighter than his wallet. Missed your birthday …what?

    #3) He’s selectively cheap.

    He will spend more money on new boards/wetsuits/fins/boat gas (or buying instagram followers so he can be an influencer and get that shit for free), than he ever will on you.
    Missed buying you a birthday prezzie? “Needed Rowley’s new 4’9″ bat-tailed, octo-fin, carbo-bamboo lip-chip babe! I’m an INFLUENCER now!”

    #4) The smell.

    Whether it’s ever-present whiff of surfing van hobostank or the stronger mank of a full-blown wet-suit Canadida outbreak, banish the idea that he’s ever going to have the same pleasing 2-stroke aroma that your first faller-boyfriend had even though you ditched him after highschool because you didn’t like his buddies’ gravel-pit parties or couldn’t keep up crushing Luckies with him over a romantic game of pool down at the Legion and don’t even think of coming back just because he’s got a nice timberframe house and a killer RV setup now….. and…ok breathe.

    5) He’s an economic dead-end.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, high-end lawyers who surf the Point in Malibu are a construction of American fiction. They get their Evian-drinking asses beat down by stink-eye even before they get their fun-board off the roof of their 8-Series BMW. We’re in Canda. The most you can hope for is that he moonlights from his barista job as an artist and sells the odd garishly- appointed landscape acrylic nightmare that was inspired by an Ayahuasca retreat one weekend on Saltspring where he found “Shanti-ohm” next to some fat kid who was crying and puking into the same bucket. Maybe.

    6) Sand everywhere.

    So. Much. Fucking. Sand. Unless he’s surfing JR. Then it’ll be sand mixed with dogshit and stand-up paddleboarder tears.

    7) The endless shitty camera-phone pictures of his trip to a secret break somewhere warm that he can’t tell you about.

    (Spoiler alert… it’s either Tamarindo or La Ticla).

    8) His dog.

    If he doesn’t have a dog. He will eventually get a dog. It will chase sticks. It will eventually live in the bed, (more usually the bed-van). It won’t just be a dog. It will be a pain-in-the-ass dog. He will have more photos of it than he will have of you. He would marry the dog or live in a common-law relationship with it if he could. You won’t find this out for some years…if you last that long. The dog will though. It will last through many many many thousands of dollars in vet bills. Vet bills that could have been used to pay for a wedding so that your parents finally get the grandkids that they fucking deserved. Fucking stupid adorable skunk-chasing stank-ass dog.

    9) Dumbass cross-training equipment.

    It might be a bongo-board. It could be an Indo board. It doesn’t matter. One night on the way to the bathroom it’s going to break your fucking arm like goon to whom you owe money for some shitty weed or MDA (probably) that you didn’t need or want. Plus he’ll spend 36 hours on it seemingly in a row until it sits there and competes for your space. Then his friends will break their arms on it while sending the board part through the window and the rolly-part into the drywall.

    10) The stare.

    He’s going to adopt that same vacant, ten-thousand mile stare every time you go to the ocean like he’s King Neptune himself trying to summon the demons of the sea. At first you’ll think it’s manly and deep. Then you’ll just realize he’s holding a cup of coffee and there’s just crickets going on up there. There will be 12 other guys doing the exact same thing down the beach. They’re not deep. They’re barely awake. They’re just procrastinating getting into Candida plagued wetsuit and getting their balls shrunk to the size of garbanzo beans by the cold Canadian water.

    Date a skier. They at least like each other and have fun après parties.

  5. Love it! A bit late to the game, as I fell in love with surfing at 48, but I can’t explain how powerful, humble and magical it makes me feel.

  6. I want a surfer girlfriend! Surfed all my life and that has always been a dream of mine. To share the beauty of the sport and places and experiences, with a love that I could totally relate with. Shy me, keeps me from reaching my dream….sigh!

      • Surfing has been my love since 5 years of age . Watching the boys I begged my dad to teach me . Teaching me I saw my father and his passion in me . Progressing in life my passion now consumes me . With loss of my father it feels sad . The gift of surf will always be my soul . My life . My father said Mother ocean smiles upon her daughters that dance upon her waves . With this hope I honor the love of surf .


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