Surfing NSW Breaks Down Barriers for Women to get Back to Work

Published on 06/10/2022

MAROUBRA BEACH, NSW (6th October 2022) – Surfing NSW has hosted a free specialised Surf Coach Essentials course to help boost the number of female surf coaches who work at community surf schools and assist the small businesses get staff back after a tough two years with floods and lockdown. 

The course follows the successful uptake of the free surf judging course offered earlier in the year.

The accelerated and tailored surf coaching course is aimed at helping women attain their surf coaching requirements and providing accreditation for all elements necessary to renew or become a surf coach.

Despite the blustery conditions, nine women from the Central Coast to far south coast took part in the training that included first aid and CPR training through Surfers Rescue 24/7 as well as the coaching elements, Surf Safety Supervisors course theory, and practical assessment.

The course, held at Maroubra, was part of the Her Wave platform funded by the NSW Government’s Her Sport Her Wave initiative, with the aim of enhancing the surfing experience for women and girls in NSW.

“Heading into summer there are 150 women of the total 350 active surf coaches in NSW,” said Adam Seminara, Surfing NSW Education Coordinator.

“However, that’s less than 50 per cent, so by providing free courses like this, we can help remove barriers to entry as well as encourage re-accreditation to retain women in surf coach roles.”

With two years of state-wide flooding and lock-down, Seminara says surf schools, especially in regional areas, have suffered.

The world’s best are on-board with the initiative. 1990 World Champion, small business owner and surf coach from Mollymook, Pam Burridge also joined the group to become re-accredited and update her skills with the latest rescue techniques and CPR.

“The course that we’ve done today has been a great way to get everything done and more women ready to get back on the beach with everything signed off and ready to go. It’s really important to help remove barriers for women in surfing. We’ve come a long way but there’s still a way to go and having opportunities like this is fantastic,” she said.

“I love teaching people how to surf. Passing on the joy of it and the practical skills is really special. Surfing is great because there’s always something to learn and a fantastic thing to have in your life. It’s given me everything and I love to share that feeling with people.”

“Not only have these small businesses suffered financially, but like many others, they’re struggling to get staff back after two very disruptive years. So we’re providing these courses to help get staff back on the beach and business pumping,” Seminara added. 

Caitlin Hopkins from Broulee Surf School is newer to the surf coach profession but also recognises the importance of increasing the number of women coaching in our communities.

“I became a surf coach because surfing has always been such an integral part of my life and I want to pass it on to others. It’s more than a sport, it gives people so much and they come in and learn to surf for so many reasons and now with so many more women surfing, it’s really important we have as many women coaching and inspiring surfers in the community as possible,” she said.

The Surfing NSW women’s Surf Coach Essentials course comes after the success of the free women’s judging course provided online earlier in the year. The course saw 116 new judges enrol in the internationally-recognised Surfing Foundation Judging course to boost women’s representation in the heavily male dominated area. 

Find a list of all Surfing NSW accredited surf schools. 

About the Her Wave Platform:

Her Wave platform, supported by the NSW Government, NSW Office of Sport and the Her Sport Her Way initiative. Her Sport Her Way is a four-year strategy that aims to build a stronger sport sector where women and girls are valued, recognised and have equal choices and opportunities to lead and participate.

As part of the initiative Surfing NSW’s Her Wave program is providing a number of opportunities for surf schools, community groups and individuals to have their first surf experience or enhance their surfing through fun, supporting and positive interactions like the Challenge Her Teams Classic. Find out more about the Her Wave program.

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