Black Girls Surf: The Organization Helping Black Women Surfers Go Pro
By DeAnna Taylor
Stereotypically, surfing has been seen as a non-Black sport, but that notion is far from the truth.
In 2014, Rhonda Harper started the organization Black Girls Surf. While the organization serves as a way to bridge the gap between young girls in surf camps getting to the professional level, Rhonda’s experience in the sport goes much deeper. A surfer herself, her love for the water goes back to the 80s.
Rhonda’s interest in exposing others who looked like her started with a partnership where she would provide surf lessons to foster kids. It then blossomed after seeing a lack of Black surfers and Black women competing for major competitions, including the Africa Surf International contest in Sierra Leone.
“Since the official public launch of BGS, the amount of Black and Brown girl groups has increased at a rate that has shocked all of us,” Rhonda said in a statement to Medium. “It’s wonderful. I’m excited every time I see a new face or a new organization that specializes in getting the next generation in the water.”
To date, the organization has a presence all over the world including Santa Cruz, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Los Angeles, and New York. The work that Rhonda and her international roster of coaches have put in is impeccable.
BGS has been working with and training two surfers from Senegal and Sierra Leone who are slated to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Khajdou Sambe (of Senegal) and Kadiatu Kamara (of Sierra Leone) will be the first women and only surfers in history to compete for their countries.
“Black Girl Surf is the world that I want to see.”
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.