From the outset, the Australian Defence Force Surfriders Association women’s development camp attracted enthusiastic participants and fostered an inclusive and encouraging environment.
The camp was held in Burrill Lake, Ulladulla in New South Wales in late February, with a group ranging from beginners to expert level surfers.
Arriving at the beach on day one, camaraderie was high and everyone was keen to get into the water.
Surf lessons were led by Pam Burridge, a former World Champion and hall of fame inductee, and began with how to read surf conditions, yoga-style stretching and pop-up drills.
Later in the day, participants attended a Surf Rescue Course run by Surfing NSW, which improved confidence in the water.
Surfing Sub Lieutenant Sinead Flaherty from HMAS Stirling said the experience was “phenomenal”.
“I feel very grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to meet, socialise and develop skills in this sport with like-minded colleagues.
“It was such a unique and fantastic experience, and an important step in growing participation in the women’s surfing events.
“I hope events like this continue into the future,” she said.
Another participant, Private Rachel Neale, said there was combined laughter and smiles among the group regardless of what stage they had progressed to, whether it was just body surfing in on knees, popping up and standing or nose diving and wiping out completely.
“I was continuously inspired by and in awe of the more experienced surfers carving it up on the green waves,” Private Neale said.
“Cheers were shared when group members caught waves.”
The more experienced surfers inspired the novices when they carved it up on the green waves.
The camp fostered camaraderie, mateship and confidence among the participants.
The camp provided a unique opportunity for ADF women of varying ranks and ages to connect and develop their surf skills.