Hurley launches new clothing line with Black Girls Surf – Daily News
If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
It’s a mantra Rhonda Harper, founder of Black Girls Surf, often says to convey the importance of cultural and gender diversity in the ocean to inspire others to feel comfortable on the waves.
Mega surf brand, Costa Mesa-based Hurley, shows support for greater inclusion in the water and Harper’s mission to get more black women to not just enjoy the waves, but be more represented in competitive surfing.
“If I had had an example of a professional surfer of the same color as me, I would have felt comfortable as a surfer at this level,” she said.
Hurley launched the Hurley X Black Girls Surf Collection last week, with the tagline: “Help diversify lineups around the world.”
The collaboration, which will donate part of the profits to the association, includes beach and sportswear, boardshorts and even an electric bicycle.
Harper spent her early years in Kansas before her parents moved to California. She learned to surf as a teenager while staying with her sister in Hawaii.
She started a surf camp in 2007 in Santa Monica, teaching battered women and their children how to surf. In 2008, she helped put up a memorial plaque honoring Inkwell Beach and Afro-Latino surfer Nicolas Gabaldon, hailed as California’s first documented African-American and Latino surfer at a time when many beaches were separated.
In 2014, Black Girls Surf was born.
In recent years, Harper, who lived in South Bay for about 10 years but now calls San Jose home, has devoted herself to coaching so she can help raise the bar for black women in competitive surfing. She tries to find resources for equipment and training for promising athletes aged 7-17.
“That way we can focus on the next generation of surfers who come into competition,” she said, aiming to see the athletes the organization helps support on the Olympic stage in the years to come. to come.
“BGS invites surfers to both training camps and ‘board meetings’, encompassing beginners through to expert level female surfers. It is an inclusive organization working for the future of women in surfing,” Hurley brand executives previously said.
“BGS’s goal is to ensure that everyone who has ever wanted to surf has the opportunity. As well as having a strong roster of experienced surfers on their team, BGS ensures that their athletes also have the opportunity for training through their sponsorship program,” they said. “These women aren’t just working to achieve their professional surfing dreams, they’re empowered with education along the way.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s “solidarity in surfing” paddle outings, several of which took place in Southern California in 2020, many surf brands called out in support of BGS, Harper said.
“I had to sit down and decide which brand was going to fit our mission,” she said. “I didn’t want a brand to come in and say, ‘You’re trendy, we’re going to make our money and send you to space.’ I wanted a company that would build foundations, training, conditioning and education I wanted someone who could understand the mission.
According to Hurley, the partnership aims to expand inclusivity within the sport of surfing as a whole, in regards to race and gender, with plans to participate in events, co-sponsor athletes and share the mission of BGS with a wider audience.
The surf brand runs a Hurley Youth program, which boasts a global roster of young athletes and ambassadors, which is how they found BGS – a partnership that has proven even more impactful than they anticipated .
“We’re joining forces to leverage what Hurley and BGS do best – leading, innovating, mentoring and promoting brotherhood,” brand executives said.
There’s been a noticeable shift in the roster in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go, Harper said. “While you’re starting to see more and more color in programming, we’re not quite there yet. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface…how do these kids access it?”
If a young female surfer in Africa or even inland California wants to surf professionally, for example, Harper asks what is the path to get there? How do they pay for entry fees or boards or transportation to the beach?
“It’s the lack of access, that’s the biggest problem,” she said. “Surfing is not a cheap sport.”
In Africa, a board can cost $600, while most families live on an income of $720 a year, she said.
“These are the challenges we face,” she said. “They are not insurmountable. These are just the usual complications you would have if you were trying to run a business. I don’t see it as something we can’t overcome, but people need to focus on how to deal with it.