Surfing may be a sport, but it delivers more than athleticism. It challenges your mental aptitude. It tests your physical endurance. It bolsters your balance. And, as Stacey Marchel, founder of Stacey’s Surf Camp in Margate, N.J., will tell you, it alters your reality.
photo courtesy of flickr/swellwoman
Marchel took up surfing with her 5-year-old son six years ago. She was instantly hooked.
“Surfing absolutely changed my life,” Marchel, 40, who is getting divorced, says. “Once I get through the rough surf, and I ride a wave, it’s a great feeling and it gives me confidence.”
Marchel says she has learned as much from waiting for waves as from riding them. “It’s taught me persistence, and it’s taught me patience.”
Now in its second year, Stacey’s Surf Camp offers a “Beginner Betty” class for women just starting out on the waves ($50 for a two-hour session, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and a “Shreddin’ Betty” class for intermediate women surfers ($25 for a two-hour session, also Tuesday and Wednesday evenings).
Beginning this month, “Divorced Divas and Dudes” ($50, Wednesday and Thursday evenings) starts up, offering “a nice, healthy environment to meet people who have similar interests,” Marchel says.
Schools on both coasts have been flooded with women taking surf class. Here are just a few.
Surf Diva in San Diego, Calif., provides year-round classes for beginners to competitors.
Northwest Women’s Surf Camps in Seaside, Ore., offers weekend camps for women and co-ed day camps June through September.
Las Olas of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., holds weeklong surf safaris for women in Mexico.
Surfet in Cocoa Beach, Fla., does spring and summer camps for girls and women and lessons for everyone year-round.