Finding my tribe

Finding my tribe

I found Gower Women’s Surf Society back in August through my explore page on Instagram – my cookies must have been listening to me as I’d been searching all over for progressor lessons and local surf groups. I’d surfed now and again as I was growing up, but never knew what to do after I learned to stand up and didn’t know many people who fancied plunging into the cold Welsh water to learn. I barely even saw any girls heading into the water around Swansea!

"I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the friendship, reassurance, and laughter the group provides"

GWS provided the perfect solution to this – I was nervous joining the first social and ended up tagging my boyfriend along, but quickly ditched him when I realised how friendly everyone was and how many people came on their own. I started with a beginner lesson to cover the basics, then levelled up to intermediate (a bit ballsy, but we move) and have since done some progressor lessons which covered turning and getting out back. Going out back gives me the fear and is my biggest challenge at the moment, but the guys at Progress Surf School are so friendly and will follow you out screaming words of encouragement if requested! My confidence is slowly growing at each meet with the surf school, as GWS provide such a friendly environment to learn in. I also travelled to The Wave with the group and took part in a Waikiki session last month, which I don’t think I would have been able to do without the friendship, reassurance, and laughter the group provides. Even on bad surf days, I’ve found that we can always have a laugh over coffee and cake after. My personal best kook moment is taking an hour to catch one wave on a particularly big day at Llangennith!!

The effect of the group also stretches beyond the organised meets, as the group chat now provides a space for girls across South Wales to join each other’s days out, and you know you’re always going to be welcomed no matter what ability everyone is. From surf forecasting to Winter equipment advice, the educational sessions have been invaluable too, and I’m so grateful that the organisers genuinely care about giving people the tools to enjoy the sport safely.

As Winter approaches, my goal is just to keep surfing when the waves are good, as I’ve never surfed through the coldest months. The group has spurred me on to buy my Winter gear so I’m excited to keep practicing when the waves are on the smaller side. I also want to nail turtle rolls without drowning!! A massive thank you goes to the women who created this society - from the very first meet it’s been good vibes all round and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2023. Girls trip to Hawaii anyone???

Words by Nia Stokes

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