Sisstrevolution is stoked to have partnered with Surfing NSW to bring the Her Wave Teams Classic at Kiama, NSW to life! We were proud to have Marissa Miller at the event to represent Sisstr and enjoy the event.
We caught up with Marissa to hear more about her experience at the event. Check out her take below!
Hey Marissa! We were so stoked to have you represent Sisstr at the Her Wave Teams Classic presented by Sisstrevolution in Kiama, NSW! Can you tell us a little bit about the event?
Hey! Yeah, first of all, I’m so stoked I was able to attend and represent Sisstr at the event! For a little bit of background, Her Wave Teams Classic at Kiama was a 2-day event put on by Surfing NSW, gathering over 200 female surfers of all ages and abilities to compete together in teams of 4 shortboarders and 4 mid-length/longboarders each. The event is part of Surfing NSW's larger efforts to create an environment where female surfers are valued, celebrated, and have equal opportunities to lead and participate—which is super cool and such a good match with what Sisstr is all about. The competition has a tag-team format, which means that each heat is like a relay race for the teams, which makes it really exciting and fun and keeps the energy high for everyone participating and watching. There were also a lot of other fun activations happening in association with the contest, including a beach cleanup, surfboard painting, shortboard and longboard technical workshops, surfer rescue and safety trainings, breathwork and yoga workshops, and expression sessions with Layne Beachley, Laura Enever, and me!
What was your role at the event? How did you help/participate?
My role was to be an ambassador at the event, which meant participating in some Q&A sessions, helping lead some workshops, beach commentating, doing interviews with participants, and keeping the stoke high by participating, supporting wherever I could, and connecting with people.
Before the event started, we visited the local high school and I had the pleasure of participating on a panel with some other incredible athletes and inspiring people from the surf industry and local Kiama community. We shared a bit about our experiences and offered insight and advice to the students about our careers, our surfing, and how we take care of our mental health. I shared a bit about my approach to surfing, my passion for sustainability, and my work in conservation. After the panel, we went down to the beach and led some technical surf training stations with a bunch of the young local girls, and at the welcome dinner that night, Laura Enever, Anne Dos Santos, Sierra Kerr, Taniah Meyers, and I did another Q&A session where we shared about ourselves and our passions and experiences with a bunch of the girls and women who were competing in the event the next day.
During the competition itself, I mostly floated around meeting people, cheering on the teams, and helping with beach commentating and interviews. I also led a longboard technical workshop with Belén Kimble and participated in the beach cleanup. I even got to participate in the contest, as a guest member of the team of girls called “Her Wave Sisstrs”, which the event organizers put together so that participants who didn’t have a team could be placed together on a team and still participate. It was fun to get in the action!
Why do you think events like the Her Wave Teams Classic are important?
Events like this are so important because they create such an incredible sense of community for women and girls who surf. It's also such an inclusive event and SO empowering. Participating in the event definitely builds confidence in many of the women and girls, and there's just so much support for each other coming from the teams. Everyone is encouraged to just get out there and have fun, and I saw some of the younger girls absolutely charging in waves that were well overhead for them. We saw women and girls come together from all over the coastline, representing all ages and surfing abilities. There was everything from young sponsored rippers, to older women who started surfing later in life, to young groms getting pushed into waves by their parents. It didn't matter your level of surfing, everyone was having fun and scoring points for their team. It was awesome to see such a variety in surf styles, boards, and approaches. I definitely did not have something like this growing up, and it's really great to see everyone coming together, making new connections, and enjoying time in the ocean with a little friendly team-based competition. I'd love to see more events like this replicated in other places and more often.
What was your favorite part of the event?
My favorite part was honestly just all the in-between moments where I got to connect 1 on 1 with people at the event– from the event organizers, to the other ambassadors, to all the participants and spectators. Hearing people's stories and all the ways we are connected was incredible and inspiring. We all shared so much in common through our love for surfing despite me coming from across the ocean and having grown up in another country. I really enjoyed those conversations I got to have and the people I got to meet.
Did you get to surf? How was it?
Yeah! I got to participate in the contest with one of the teams, which was really fun. The waves were definitely a little tricky for a longboard during the event, because it got a little bigger and a bit dumpy on the low tide, but there were definitely some fun ones if you could find them, and it made the event just a little bit more challenging in a fun way! I also got to go up to the Gold Coast after the event, and I got some really fun point break waves up there, so I was stoked.
You mentioned this was your first time in Australia, what did you think?
Loved it! Definitely want to go back and spend more time down there. I met so many incredible people that I would want to reconnect with, and there's just so much incredible nature and so many perfect waves down there! I would love to go back and spend more time exploring coastlines, surfing, meeting more people, and learning more about their ecosystems, culture, and history. They also have a pretty cool National Surfing Reserves program that I'd love to learn more about, especially because it relates to my work with Conservation International protecting surf ecosystems.
What takeaways do you have from your experience/trip down under?
Biggest takeaway is the amount of stoke and inspiration that comes from gathering so many women and girls together to surf. We all have so much in common through our passion for riding waves, and that connects us across oceans. When we come together, we really do uplift each other, inspire each other, and help push each other to get better. Surfing is best when shared with a few friends, and events or trips like this help us make new connections and friendships that last, so we can continue to share waves, smiles, and good times with each other even after the event or trip is over.
How do you think we can continue to strengthen and grow the women’s surf community?
I think it would be great for more surfing organizations and surf brands to continue investing in resources for women in surfing and hosting events like this one, as a start. It's great to see an event be so inclusive and draw interest from so many different female surfers, and I'm sure that many of them left feeling inspired and empowered and like they're part of this larger community of women who surf, which is so important. Furthermore, providing workshops and resources at these events to teach women surf rescue training and safety techniques, mobility and balance training, technical shortboard and longboard techniques, and other ocean skills can help truly empower women surfers and boost their confidence in the water.
I think it's also important for women and girls who surf to also do their part individually to continue to support each other and uplift each other in the lineup outside of events like this. The women's surf community has grown a lot in recent years, and it's important for everyone to be kind to each other, make friends with the other women in the water, and smile and say hi when they see someone new in the lineup. A little kindness goes a long way and can help strengthen and grow our global community of women surfers. Lastly, I think it's also important for women to be good representatives of other women in the water–which means having good surf etiquette, spreading stoke and smiles, and always encouraging others to do the same.