My name is Mary ("Maz" if you worked with me at a certain cocktail bar, and "Mary Michele" if you are family). I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa thinking everyone lived in beautiful cities on the beach with a vibrant culture, surrounded by mountains and epic surf.
I was lucky.
I moved (reluctantly) to South Australia. When I realised I could decide where I wanted to live, I was off to Barcelona for about 5 years. I met a German guy (still together) in an Absinthe bar (not how it sounds) and ended up in Berlin.
There's no ocean in Berlin.
Back to Australia...Melbourne...We spent every weekend driving to either Torquay or Phillip Island before we decided life was too short to drive to the beach and moved to Newcastle in early 2020...right before Covid!
We scored a rental in Merewether and thought we had lucked out...but... we had no friends! And even though I learnt to surf as a kid in Cape Town, there wasn't much surf in Barcelona or Berlin so I was really out of practice and found the Newy beach breaks pretty intimidating.
That's when SurfSistas started... I posted on a few local Facebook Groups (see images below) thinking I would be happy if 10 girls joined my group. A year later we have over 750 members and are the largest and fastest growing community group for female surfers in Australia!
Now when I paddle out I see friends who are like family. Newcastle has welcomed SurfSistas with open arms. I've heard people say things in the water like "there's a lot more girls out here now" ... and... "it's such a better vibe with girls in the water"