Surfing can be a wonderful tool for personal growth. The Social Surf Club e.V. from Hamburg is a non-profit initiative that offers children, young people and adults a platform for self-discovery and healing through surfing and nature. Kim Naemi Birtel, one of the long-time members, gives insights into the Girls Surf Camp and interviews one of the girls who took part in the trip.
Words by Kim Naemi Birtel
Since I can remember, I have been in love with the ocean. And since I was five, I have been standing on a surfboard. Wherever I am, if the ocean is close, I feel at home. Now I am not five anymore, and I have gone on surf trips all around the world. And wherever I am, there is one thing that is always the same. My heart almost explodes if I can even spot one woman in the line-up. A line-up with only women has only been a dream of mine, until in spring 2022 The Social Surf Club and the surf-bikini brand MyMarnini partnered up to make that dream come true during the summer of 2022, with The Social Surf Club’s first-ever Girls-Surfcamp.
This year, our Girls Only Camp went into its second round. We took off in Hamburg with a diverse group of fifteen girls from different difficult living situations and eleven women. And arrived at Denmark’s north shore ready for two unforgettable weeks of dancing, surfing, feminism and love.
I talked to Jassi (Jasmeet) about her time at our Girls Camp.
Hi, could you quickly introduce yourself?
I am Jassi (Jasmeet), I’m from Hamburg, Germany, I am fifteen and like to play basketball.
How did you hear about us (The Social Surf Club)?
Some friends and family told me about the project.
How did you feel about the trip beforehand?
I was a little bit nervous and uneasy at the thought of so many girls in one place. I thought there might be a lot of drama.
Could you describe a typical day here for me?
Our day starts by getting woken up around nine. Then we all eat breakfast together, it’s really good. Afterwards, we get told what will happen after breakfast. Usually, we will then have our morning round, and we start with a little meditation. And a little check-up round of how everyone is doing today. We will then discuss our plan for the day. Then we pack everything up and go to the beach and go surfing together. Usually, we have some kind of evening program as well. One time, for example, we did an evening on the topic “Body” and shared past negative experiences with each other. That was really emotional, but I also felt really safe sharing my stories. That’s why I really liked it.
What was your most memorable moment here?
My most beautiful moment was on the Bulbjerg (A steep cliff on the Danish coastline). We were there during a storm and it was so windy that you could let yourself fall in the wind. That was beautiful, I had no thoughts running through my head and was just smiling, forgetting about all my problems and my family.
What is different here from home?
The difference is that the adults here don’t act like supervisors, but more like friends that you can have fun with.
What is your favourite activity here?
Surfing because it’s fun to learn.
What do you like about surfing?
That you are in the water just having a good time. Even if you’re not having a good surf, everyone will cheer for you. That’s really motivating.
Do you think surfing is a boys-sport?
No, it just feels so safe and comfortable to go surfing with just girls in the water.
Did you learn something during the past two weeks?
On my first day, I could not even sit on my board now I’m almost able to stand up. And I learned to be more open with my emotions and that there are people that want to listen to me. And that you should be mindful of your surroundings.
Would you like to do this again in the future?
Would you recommend this trip to other girls?
Yes, it is an amazing experience to spend two weeks with only other girls, and you will learn a lot about yourself.