Inclusive Line Up’s
As we head into 2023 it’s time for an update on our work to support Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in surfing. We’ve got some major plans in motion and lots of initiatives underway including opportunities to collaborate and get involved.
Surfing England is a small, unfunded and not-for-profit organisation so we don’t have the resources and reach of larger sports, but perhaps more importantly we have a team that care deeply about how our work is delivered and ensuring we are positively contributing and leading in surfing’s development as a more inclusive sport and lifestyle.
If you want to understand more about what we do, you can check out our review of 2022 to give you a quick insight into the areas we work across. All of which contribute to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) plans.
Here are some of the things we’re doing now, and initiatives we have planned for 2023 with a focus on inclusion, diversity and equality:
- Launching the Inclusive Line Ups committee. This new group bringing together people with specific expertise and lived experience to support us with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the organisation. The group will be working with the operations team and reporting into our board, providing support as we tackle some of the complex and challenging issues for inclusion in sport. The committee chair will be announced shortly and opportunities to join the panel and get involved in its work will be live through spring.
- Getting funding direct to surfers from under-represented backgrounds within surfing. It’s a fight to get surfing recognised and supported by the machinery of government, but we’ve been delighted with our SportsAid partnership and together we’ll be providing £50,000 of grants to talented surfers in 2023, with half committed to surfers from under represented backgrounds within surfing
- Supporting new ways of showcasing diversity within surfing. For the first time we’re supporting and funding an independent documentary as way of raising the profile of ethnically diverse surfers. We’re supporting Ubuntu Productions, a small production company focused on humanity and equality with Wave Women UK – a documentary about 5 black women and their surfing journeys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8klcABzCjA&t=5s
- Growing the Para Surfing movement. At grassroots this means volunteer and coach training and working with partners and surf schools to open up more opportunities for people with a disability to surf. At the elite end, our Team England Adaptive Surfers recently returned from the World Para Surfing Games with silverware and a top 10 finish. Like all our work, there is no funding here, just legendary volunteers, partners and athletes. We’re lobbying Sport England who should be funding our talent pathway and some of the world’s best para surfers
- Making coaching more inclusive. In 2022 we made the leap to create our own surf coach awards, moving away from the international federation’s qualifications. A big call for a small team! We want the new awards to be attractive and accessible to more people from a wider range of backgrounds to increase the diversity of our coaching workforce and for the content to to raise the awareness of coaches in the role they have as ambassadors for our sport – for example the introductory instructor award dedicates a module to inclusive coaching and tackles subjects like unconscious bias.
- Embedding EDI into all we do. We’ve got a broad remit and we cover a lot of ground. We try to always consider the impact of our actions, for example you will see every event poster and edit we produce is hugely thought through to ensure good representation, or if you have a delve into our Talent Plans you’ll see diversity and inclusion embedded into our strategy and delivery.
- Increasing the number of women in surfing. Over 50% of the organisation are women (including in leadership roles) and we’ve done lots to recruit and train more female coaches, judges, beach marshals and other roles to increase the number of women in senior roles on the competition and talent pathway. We’re also targeting our Junior Surf Series to bring more girls into competitive surfing.
We’re proud of the work we have underway and it’s been great to engage and collaborate with lots of different group as we continue to unpack what equality and diversity means for surfing and our role within that as a National Governing Body.
We have an open door for individuals and organisations that share our ethos and would like to help build and expand our work in these areas. We know we’re not going to get everything right first time and that we definitely won’t please everyone, but we’re committed to doing what we can and to leading from the front with the programme of activities we have underway.