Surf like a girl - Wahines of the Waves
We at Eidon believe that it’s our mission to create quality products for women to feel comfortable and confident in, products that they can always rely. But it’s not just about the products for us. We strive to create an inclusive community where women can share their love and passion for all things #LiveTravelSurf, and inspire one another to try new experiences!
This is why we’re incredibly excited to present to you Wahines Of The Waves, a rad all-girls club based at the University of Florida. With a mission statement “to encourage female progression in board sports and boost the confidence of our female athletes”, we just knew it was a match made in heaven. With members ranging from skilled board-letes to beginners, it’s the perfect group to meet others who share the same passions and curiosities.
We chatted with Marley, WOW’s President, to get to know more about the club’s goals and thoughts on board culture.
Eidon: So first things first, when and how did WOW officially get started?
Marley: WOW officially began as a student organization in 2011. When I arrived to UF in 2013 it was a pretty small group, but I could feel the potential. Over the next year we were able to grow the club and truly define what WOW wanted to represent: rad women!
Eidon: How did you hear about WOW during your freshman year?
Marley: I heard about WOW from then VP, Dixie Smith. As a freshman, Dixie was the kind of upperclassmen that you’d be in awe of. She’s a tiny powerhouse; around 5’ tall, full of energy, incredibly successful academically and one of the most impressive athletes I’ve ever met. She grew up as a gymnast and by the time I met her at UF she had been wakeboarding for about two years and you would think she’d been doing it her whole life.
I was the only female freshman that attended the fall surf club meeting and Dixie found me after the meeting to tell me about WOW.
Eidon: Since you've been surfing since childhood, what were your thoughts on the club's mission "to encourage female progression in male-dominated sports"?
Marley: When women push each other we can accomplish anything! On any given day growing up I would paddle out and be the only girl in the lineup. I don’t want this to be the norm anymore. There’s equality in representation. I also think it’s important to not have to be the best in order to participate. Surfing, skating and wakeboarding are sports we do for ourselves, not other people. It’s important to push yourself for your own growth, not the approval of others. WOW is a great way for women to learn or progress in a sport around a group of girls who aren’t there to judge anyone by their skill level.
Eidon: At Eidon, we try to promote an inclusive community, where all women are welcome. Sometimes, the board world can be pretty intimidating and seem rather exclusive than inclusive, like a "cool people only club". Do you agree/disagree? And in what ways do you think WOW tries to break down those walls?
Marley: I absolutely agree, board sports are, by nature, cool and it can feel really intimidating to participate if you aren’t the best. There is an endless cycle that I have seen and even felt myself get pulled into: you are not good at the sport, so you are too embarrassed to try, which means you will never get better.
At Wahines we focus on progressing in what we already know and trying things we’ve never done before. The big one we’ve been pushing lately is park skating. The world of skateboarding is incredible because it is wildly attainable. You don’t have to live anywhere special or invest in the best and newest gear, you just need a board and concrete. Only a couple girls in WOW entered as skaters, but now if you go to a park in Gainesville it’s very likely you’ll run into a group of Wahines rolling around, falling and landing new tricks and not caring what anyone thinks.
Eidon: As president of the club, what are some of your goals, or things you'd like to accomplish for WOW during this academic year?
Marley: Board sports are a major part of people’s lives. My goal is to introduce Wahines to a sport that can stay in their life long after college. I've seen so many girls make lasting friendships over a shared interest in sports they might have never even dreamed of trying.
Eidon: And last but not least, what does "Surf like a girl" mean to you?
Growing up people would describe doing things “like a girl” as an insult. I always thought this was crazy! Girls are powerful. There are so many incredible examples of strong and graceful female surfing: Stephanie Gilmore, Kelia Moniz, Lauren Hill, Coco Ho… Just as powerful is the sense of community that has been growing in the female surf world. The effect we as women can have when we empower each other is incredible.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Marley, where we discuss their upcoming event Barrels For Boobs which raises funds for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation.