THIS GIRL CAN: Meet Yonder Surf School

This Girl Can reaches Yonder Surf School on the Tyneside Coast

Holly Mawdsley
17th February 2020
Image: @s.arajean Sarah Henderson Photos and @surfyonder www.surfyonder.com

In 1990 women accounted for an estimated three to five percent of the surfing population, and a decade later this rose to ten to fifteen percent.

Now, there are more women surfing than ever. The surfing world is championing gender equality, with the World Surfing League being the first US-based global sporting league to offer equal pay to male and female competitors.

Surfing is also making its Olympic debut in the Tokyo summer games, with the key aspiration of achieving 50 percent female participation. Taking a slice out of this thriving sport is Newcastle University’s This Girl Can week.

The Student Union subsidised two beginner lessons from £25 to £5 to enable female students to get a taste of the salty action, potentially producing competitors for the Olympic games…

In the midst of this global movement is Yonder, a women’s-only surf school run in Tynemouth.

Sally McGee, founder of the school, ran our This Girl Can sessions, as she works to burgeon the female surf scene in the North East. Her manifesto states:

“It’s about empowerment and encouragement and celebrating the imperfections and the character. It’s about finding your own style, going with it and surfing for yourself.”


Yonder has fostered and nurtured a community of “Sisters of the North Sea,” as Sally herself puts it, so who better to partner up with for a campaign that has female empowerment at its very core?


Eve Brady, a student at Newcastle University, had her first surf lesson during This Girl Can week and she too joined Yonder’s sisterhood. Eve says:
“Surfing with Yonder was an incredible experience, Sally made us all feel comfortable and confident straight away and my surfing improved dramatically! I couldn’t stop smiling and felt so inspired when the lesson was over.”

This girl certainly did! Yonder surf school has created a cosmos of girl-power, which encapsulates every value of This Girl Can, so we invite you to become a sister (or brother) of the North Sea too.

Image: @s.arajean Sarah Henderson Photos, @surfyonder www.surfyonder.com

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