Bondi Girls Surfriders was formed in 1999 by a few like minded surfer girls who wanted to promote women in surfing. In 1999 there were very few if any women’s only surfing clubs in Australia and none in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Brenda Miley, who had started Lets Go Surfing surf school a few years earlier in 1996, was always motivated to support women in surfing. Having been a member of the famous ITN boardriders at Bondi in the early 80s with a strong women’s contingent and Maroubra’s Southend Boardriders in the early 90s she met with many girls who were keen to compete but were often too shy to surf in front of the boys.
One of Brenda’s first students, Jo Evenden, was on a fast learning curve and keen as mustard to surf at every opportunity! So, (like many great ideas) Bondi Girsl Surfiders Club (BGSR) was formed over a few drinks one night at North Bondi RSL Club.
The first meeting took place in a cafe at Bondi with a number of girls attending, including Kylie Roberts, and BGSR began within weeks. (Kylie is still a competing member and is on our 2013 Judging team)
The goals were to be an inclusive club where all girls were welcome no matter what level or ability. The club was to meet on the first Saturday of every month and surfboards and wetsuits were provided at every comp to anyone who needed them.
It was all about getting the girls into the surf!
The original goals were:
BGSR is a club where women of all ages and abilities
- can surf in a safe and fun environment
- improve their surfing skills
- meet other girls who surf
- get lots of waves
- explore new surfing spots
- have fun
In the early days BGSR attracted many keen female surfers of all levels. In the first year there were 25 members.
BGSR has had a number of great surfers including Kaye Llewelyn and Kathy Newman competing in the club. 3 of our original juniors Jessi Miley Dyer, Nicola Atherton and Claire Norman have gone on to have careers in pro surfing. Jessi competed for years on the WCT, Nicola the WQS and Claire is still cmpetitive on the longboard circuit. Claire still competes in the club when she’s in town.
Regular surf trips - away provided the opportunity to form many great friendships, build confidence at different surf breaks and enjoy uncrowded waves. The tradition of these surf trips is still an integral part of the club today.
Community Spirit – Over the years BGSR has also been involved in and organised a number of external competitions including
‘Surf for Breast Cancer’ where we raised $3000 for breast cancer research in honour of local surfer Anna Solomonson who passed away with the disease, as well as community surf comp
‘Bondi Tsunami’ which raised money for Norman Andrews House.
“Wax On” – The brain child of Nell Scofield as Vice president was one of our most successful fundraising projects. Over the 3 years we held this event we raised much needed funds for local charities, including Norman Andrews House, Homicide Victims support Group, Bondi Public School and many others. We even adopted a child in Africa and a Shark! They were huge surf parties held at the iconic Bondi Pavillion and with Nell’s amazing social networking skills, the Bondi Girls hard work and the generosity of many local businesses, Wax On was the party of year!
Interclub comps & the Jim Beam Tag Team events - have been annual fixtures on the BGSR calendar. We have competed in friendly but fierce comps against other women’s clubs such as Cronulla, Norah Head Women In Waves, Central Coast, and Northern Beaches clubs.
Bondi Longboard Club and BGSR - have always enjoyed a great community / surfing relationship. They have been one of BGSR’s best supporters helping us out with their expertise in surfing and barbecuing, especially in the early days. For the past 10 years the Chloe Byron Memorial Comp has been an important event on our calander as Chloe was one of our original juniors and longboarders. Dave and Tia Byron are Honorary members and we love it when Dave comes to our comps to cook us brunch.
Claire Norman and Kim McMahon have competed in both BLBC & BGSR clubs for many years and have been great ambassadors for womens’ Longboarding at Bondi. As a result of their passion the BGSR longboard Divison is becoming very competitive with many of our girls now competing in the Longboard Grade and their chosen Shortboard grade. In 2013 Bondi Longboard club has doubled their female memberships as a result.
Our Leaders – Founding member Brenda Miley, was president for the first 7 years from 1999-2005, and with Jo Evenden as secretary until 2003, they grew the club with the help of many keen women. BGSR became a fixture in the Bondi landscape on the first Saturday of every month with girls out in the water in numbers.
Our strength was having fun and encouraging girls into the surf. Our weakness was putting up the tent!
2006-2009 - Madeleine McMahon took over as president and with a team of female surfing enthusiasts including Karen, Sophie P, Sophie K, Nell, Kylie , Jo, Kaye & Kim, she streamlined the club and improved the equipment, systems and parties. To this day the end of season fancy dress surfs are not to be missed!
2010 – 2012 – Olivia Lucas as President, Kim McMahon as Secretary and Sophie Kijas as Treasurer continued the tradition of BGSR leading an energetic and enthusiastic committee. We introduced a Facebook page and with regular BLOGs, women surfers around the Eastern Suburbs beaches came out of the whitewash and into the BGSR community. Our membership and reach has increased as a result.
2013 – The new season is about to start, Olivia has handed over the Presidents role to the very popular and capable Sarah Shannon, Christine Maybury has taken over from Kim and Sophie continues her good work as Treasurer. Both Olivia and Kim remain on the comittee in 2013, Kim as Social Media & Communications Manager and Olivia co-ordinates and manages our much anticipated Surf trips.
Brenda Miley is still an imtegral part of the committee, her excellence in coaching and comp directing keeps us all on the ball, grounded and focussed.
Boasting over 60 financial members , over 140 facebook members and 98,ooo hits on our website BGSR we continue to thrive and grow.
We currently run Advanced, Intermediate A, Intermediate B, Beginners, Junior and Longboard divisions.
The goals haven’t changed much since 1999 and the passion and intensity is still pumping…..
We are proud of our history and the great women that have lead us to where we are now…and the Tent?
Well it’s still a challenge, but we are getting there!