Wave Wahines: the surf club championing women and girls in sport
Meet Yvette, the brain behind the surf-school come community, Wave Wahines. Yvette spear-headed the company back in 2016 when her daughter wanted to learn to surf, but she felt priced out and as if the sessions weren’t right for her daughter. Wave Wahines combatted these ideas, as well as encouraged the nurturing of women and girls in sport. Find out what Yvette had to say below.
Tell us a little bit about Wave Wahines, what made you want to start it?
I started Wave Wahines back in 2016 as a result of my then 12-year-old daughter wanting to learn to surf, but myself as a single parent not being able to financially support that as lessons can range from £35 per session upwards. We did look locally for surf clubs that may be suitable, but they were all very boy heavy and didn’t supply equipment so made it really hard to just give it a try. I spoke with one of the local surf schools and our now head coach, Karma Worthington, and Wave Wahines was born.
How do you run your programs?
Our regular surf club sessions run weekly from February to November and then we go indoors over the winter to ensure the club doesn’t stop totally over the winter. We operate from a local surf school, Surf South West, which is such a community-led school that we are so grateful for their continued support. Our surf therapy programs are delivered from the same venue but my trauma-informed coaches.
What is the most rewarding part of running Wave Wahines?
It has to be watching some of our younger members have so much fun, making new friendships as they take on a new sport and grow in their confidence and resilience without even realising it! They take up space and they are proud to do it! I’m so proud to enable that.
If you could give your younger self one bit of career advice what would it be?
You are worth it and yes you do deserve to be there!
What does a typical day in life look like?
For the surf club, the days are pretty mixed, always there is the constant search for funding and sponsorship, especially to run our social impact programs. There are always days of writing blogs and looking at new and exciting activities to do over the winter. The actual club sessions are always so fun and giggle-filled with some waves thrown in for good measure. Our ethos has always been about fun, inclusion and community – I’m proud we continue to live by those words.
What are your hopes for the future of the business?
Where to begin, I have so many! I obviously would love to see our club continuing to grow and providing affordable and non-competitive entry into surfing, perhaps even providing a development squad. In order for our social impact programs around diversity and gendered violence to continue and grow, we are looking for funding all the time to secure these programs as we know the impact they have had so far and the impact they can have in the future.
One of my pipe dreams would be to see Wave Wahines become a blueprint for ‘how to increase female participation and grow into a community of Wave Wahine Satellite surf clubs built on the power that comes with community.
Words: Grace Goslin