“Brown Girl Surf has been an amazing and unique experience for my daughter over the last 2 years. This experience has provided her with a sense of community, mentorship, and empowerment. She is at her best when she can be close to nature and has a fierce passion to preserve it, which BGS reinforces through its mission to protect the oceans. You should see the positive and vibrant energy she has when she returns after a day with BGS. Mira and Melissa are wonderful role models for leadership and sisterhood.”
- parent of past participant
“I love being a part of BGS because we are leading a larger social movement. Our collective presence in the water is transforming the straight, white male landscape of surfing into one that includes and is defined by us. I have surfed for many years but had always felt like an outsider, because I rarely saw others who looked like me. Even on land, I felt lonely because surf imagery excludes women of color. Not until I joined BGS did I start to feel like I had a place in surfing and the ocean. The sense of collective belonging and self-actualization transcends BGS; it is ingrained into our daily lives.”
- BGS Volunteer
"We jumped at the opportunity of Brown Girl Surf knowing how vital it is to get our daughter around peers. She loves the water but swim clubs here have zero diversity so what you've provided her is priceless. We'll make every effort to be back!"
- Beth, parent of a Surf Sister Summer Camp participant who joined us from Kansas
"You have no idea how impactful Saskia's experience with you all was. It was very transformative for her. She felt so wonderfully supported by the community in terms of both as a beginning surfer & also in terms of her heart & spirit! I can clearly see how that positive experience has helped her in other things throughout this past year!
She's really looking forward to us making the drive back up north when the weather warms up. I haven't been able to find anything like it here in L.A. You all have a great & unique program & you should be very proud of that."
- Frances, mother of 9-year-old Saskia, who surfed for the first time with Brown Girl Surf in Fall 2018
"Whenever I pick her up, the first words out of her mouth are, "Can I go again next Saturday?"
- Father of a 12 year old (repeat) Surf Sister Saturday participant
“Brown girls surf show the true surfing. No muscle-headed, fake tans here! If you a surfer girl, or a brown girl wanting to find people like you, than Brown Girl Surf is for you!”
- Summer Camp Participant
“I never thought I would be in love with the ocean. I grew up around it but for most of my life I didn’t know how to swim so I just avoided it. Brown Girl Surf opened up a whole new world for me, I conquered my fears in ways I didn’t know I could and developed a confidence within myself that can never be taken away. All of this while learning how to surf and meeting such incredible female surfers continues to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
- Nishan Jones, Intern
“Before I did a Surf Sister Saturday, my only experience out in the ocean was when I was 6 years old and a wave came crashing down on me. I swallowed a lot of water and I was traumatized. I thought “I never wanna go in the ocean ever again” so I never did. I grew up in Southern California, right by the ocean, but I never felt like the beach was a space for me. I never saw myself being represented.
The first time I came to Brown Girl Surf, I didn’t know if I was going to put on a wetsuit or touch the water. So all that I did for my first time was put on the wetsuit, walk into the ocean with the other surfers, and that was it. I checked in with myself if I was comfortable with trying to surf and I wasn’t ready for all that yet. No one pushed me. It’s all love and support. And you’re getting supported by people who you can identify with. You look to these people and you have similar experiences. They understand you. The support that they’re giving you is similar to the support they’d be able to give themselves.
Here I am, a year later, and I now I put the wetsuit on and grab a board, and I just like catch a wave?! It’s so amazing! I get so many affirmations!
To be outside in the sun, near water, and nature with other amazing, powerful women of color, that experience in itself is so valuable. And there’s not enough places for us to do that. Even if you’re not sure you want to be in the water, at the very least just come out and be with us.”
-L. Roy, a 2018 Surf Sister Saturday participant
“I’m grateful for Brown Girl Surf and how safe you make it feel here. Lots of places say they are safe spaces but don’t actually feel safe. This one does, so thank you.”
- 12 year old participant from 2018 Surf Sister Summer Camp
“BGS has been an amazing experience that I think, one day, Sayre will look back on as a formative time. She has met such amazing, wonderful women and also made friends that I think she will grow up with. I wish every young woman could have such incredible and cool role models at this age. Thanks to all of you for your time, energy and wonderfulness.”
- Leisha Fry, mother of a Rising Leader youth
“Volunteering with BGS has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. Creating an inclusive space in the surf community, with a broad range of women and girls who are committed to and celebrate each other, the environment, and surfing has been such a wonderful part of my life. I am in awe of the constant positivity, compassion and sisterhood of the young women I've met through BGS.”
- Jamila Hubbard
“I’ve always had this fascination with wanting to learn how to surf. Learning new things can be terrifying because nobody wants to be bad at anything. Particularly adults. But there’s always value in pushing ourselves to be in new experiences, in places that feel safe.⠀
The first time I came to a Surf Sister Saturday, everyone just greeted me like they knew me. I was super nervous that I showed up late and Marley was like “Hi Joi! So good to see you! We’re glad you made it!” and hugged me like I’d been coming to this beach for forever, and knew these people for forever. I very much immediately felt this sense of community by simply showing up, which I think can be a rare and special thing.
Anybody who decides to do even one Saturday with BGS, I think will feel that they have the opportunity to take a risk in a space where people are going to be supportive and are going to be kind.”⠀
- Joi, 2018 participant
"Being a volunteer surf sister for BGS has given me a unique way to share what I love with young women of color who are so open and enthusiastic about the ocean and environment that it's humbling and soul satisfying all in one! It's such a special, positive community of badass women of all ages."
- Camille Ramani
“My experience as a mom inspired me to pursue the hell out of my dreams. I relentlessly pursue the things that I want to do. Passionately. To no end. Why? Because this kid is watching me. Is she gonna watch me watch TV? Watch me watch my phone? No, she’s gonna watch me make magic.
If someone were to say, “I don’t know how I can get involved in surfing, I don’t have the money,” don’t worry about that. See if you have the desire first. Brown girl surf are providing you with just about everything. Transportation, the equipment, the lessons, the emotional support, and even the financial support, because there’s a sliding scale, so you can pay what you can.
Don’t put limitations on yourself. And don’t let other people’s weird projections of their own fear limit you from doing something rad that you are gonna love. “I’m too old.” “I don’t have the body type of a surfer.” “I don’t wanna get my hair wet.” Nothing awesome happens in your little comfort zone. The good stuff is out there, beyond the break. When you do it and look back on the fact that you did it, you’re gonna look at yourself hella different and you’re gonna look on all these other experiences you’ve been missing out on hella different, too. You’re gonna be like ‘Now, I can do anything. I did this one thing, that’s a wrap. Gotta take over the world now.’”
- Art3mis Prime, Hip Hop Artist, Woman of Color Surfer, and Brown Girl Surf volunteer