Female Surfers Say Waves Are for Them Too

A growing number of women in California are hitting the surf

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Surfing has long been a male-dominated sport, but for decades women have been also dropping into the waves. The number of female surfers in the water has grown over the past few years. Many of them have been surfing since they were young, but say the culture was very different.

"It wasn't as welcoming back then," said Angie Rivera. She learned to surf 22 years ago and now is part of a women's surf club that spans the Golden Coast.

Clubs like the one Rivera is a part of are encouraging women of all ages to hit the surf, and have hundreds of members.

"The joy that surfing brings us is just like nothing else," said surfer Jensine Andrews. "Then to have that sisterhood, the community, to share that stoke is what keeps us going."

Surf shops are also seeing the change. Hansen's Surfboards in Encinitas told NBC 7 they are seeing an equal number of men and women coming in to buy surfboards.

"When I used to surf with my dad I'd be the only girl out there," said Miranda Murphy who has been surfing since she was 8 years old. "I see a lot of young girls trying to figure out how to surf and there's so many out there. It's really awesome."

Murphy and a few other female surfers think the coronavirus pandemic has helped push people to try new outdoor activities. Kailee Rust said she would usually be playing soccer during the summer, but decided to try surfing because her games were canceled.

"I was so scared when I first started surfing because I thought we're going to be the only girls out there," said Rust. "But then you get out there and you see so many strong women out there. You're thinking, 'Alright. I'm just fine right here.'"

Josh Hansen of Hansen's Surfboards say it's not just women that are hitting the surf more, everyone is. They've seen entire families come in to buy boards so even the kids can join in.

"They used to think you're not as good at surfing because you're a girl," said Murphy. "But now because there are so many girls out here I feel we're a lot more represented and not as underestimated."

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