It’s no secret surfing is good for you. It strengthens your core, upper body, legs and increases balance. It has the mental benefits of releasing endorphins and calming the mind of the surfer. It is also said to be good for the soul, and is like a religion for some ‘soul surfers’.

Studies show more than one in 10 Australians are surfers, making it one of the most popular sports in Australia.

Despite the popularity and benefits of an active beach lifestyle, there are still barriers within the surfing community. Only 30 per cent of the Australian surfing population is female, and, according to local Wollongong surfer Nicolette Neveu-Abramczuk, it can be intimidating paddling into the line-up when there’s a strong chance you’re going to be the only girl out there.

“When you move to a new city, as many people do in Wollongong to go to uni, it’s quite daunting to go to the beach and go surfing on your own, particularly if you don’t know many people,” she said.

Nicolette is determined to bring about change. She and a couple of friends have started ‘Wollongong Women’s Surfers’, a group that aims to provide a safe space in the water for women to pursue an active beach lifestyle.

*Eva Davis-Boermans is a member of the Wollongong Women’s Surfers