A Women-Only Surf Club Is Coming to the Shore This Summer

All-women surf nights, led by Heritage Surf and Sport, begin July 10th.

Heritage Surf and Sport’s women-only surf club begins July 10th. / Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

For the past 15 years, my best friend’s family has rented a house in Sea Isle City. During our week-long stays, we make sure to watch our guilty pleasure: Blue Crush. When we were younger, we saw it as just a fun summer flick about girls living in a beach town — something we swore we’d eventually do. As we got older, I think we keep our tradition alive not just because we love the movie for its nostalgic quality but because there is something encouraging about seeing women conquer waves and crush surf competitions. Simply put: it’s empowering to witness women achieving their goals.

Despite our movie-watching, I never had the opportunity to get onto a surfboard. For one, I can’t swim (which is a story I’ll save for another time), but I never found available lessons. The beaches at the Jersey Shore were full of sun-bathers and wave-jumpers but lacking in people, especially women, paddling through the water and gliding on boards.

Come July, that will change, when Heritage Surf and Sport launches women-only surf nights. Starting July 10th, Heritage’s all-women surfing will help beginners with the basics, providing tips on how to duck dive and become comfortable in larger waves while allowing advanced surfers to discuss surf theory.

This series dedicated to women was spearheaded by Allison Ocanto, Heritage’s marketing director, who grew up surfing but very few other women in the water. “I knew there were other [women surfers] like me, but it was hard to find them and meet up,” Ocanto says. “I probably surfed a lot less because of it.”

Surfer and yoga instructor Amanda Strube will join Ocanto as an instructor, leading everyone in yoga to help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Post-surf, the group will grab dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy the Heritage Surf IPA created specifically for Heritage by Yards Brewery. Women’s surf club, which costs $165 per person for the entire eight-week session, begins at 5 p.m. and runs every Wednesday for two months. All sessions will take place in either Ocean City or Sea Isle City, with exact locations announced in a registrant-only email. Boards and wet suits will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you already have them.

This isn’t Heritage Surf and Sport’s first innovative endeavor. The surfing hub has been offering private and group surf lessons for more than 50 years, teaching individuals of all skill levels and ages through formal yet fun lessons. The sessions last 60 minutes and include a board and wet suit; group lessons range from $30 to $45, depending on location, while private lessons start at $65.

Heritage also offers youth surf camps in both Ocean City and Sea Isle. During the three-day (Sea Isle) or five-day (Ocean City) camp, campers ages eight to 16 will learn proper form and technique under the guidance of a trained instructor. More information regarding private and group lessons and youth surf camp can be found here.

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