How Surf Proud is creating a safe queer space

Two queer women from surf proud on the sunshine coast kiss on the beach.
Image: Supplied

The founder of Surf Proud Sarah Pawley shares why she set up the group and how it’s forming a strong queer community on the Sunshine Coast.

I started Surf Proud on the Sunshine Coast two years back just to have a safe spot for people who surf to hang out and catch some waves together.

I am a surf coach and I wanted a crew to share the stoke with.

My vision was to create a safe and exhilarating space where the LGBTQIA+ community and allies could come together, ride the waves, and embrace the beauty of the ocean while fostering meaningful relationships. 

It’s like my baby, backed by my partner and this awesome crew of friends who are all about supporting my wild ideas.

Their hype keeps pushing me to break some boundaries and spread good vibes on a bigger scale. It’s a purposeful journey while having an all-round good time. 

I wanted Surf Proud to be the support that I wished for back when I was a young surfer. 

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The aim was to create a vibe where everyone feels comfy, confident, and totally real, breaking free from traditional moulds. 

Since starting it out though, it’s become more than I thought!

Now, as a group, we’re on a mission to shake up the surf culture, celebrating diversity in the crew.

What Surf Proud offers

Surf Proud is all about chill vibes, welcoming everyone to beach socials and fun events.

Our crew is super diverse – not just surfers, but people from all walks of life. It’s just a laid-back community where everyone’s welcome to ride the wave or not & have a good time.

We offer a variety of fun activities. From beach socials featuring games and educational ocean safety talks to trivia sessions with exciting prizes.

We aim to create a dynamic and inclusive environment. 


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Additionally, we offer surf lessons, and when the elements aren’t in our favour, we turn to the park for lawn games and provide surf skate lessons.

We invite everyone who wants to get involved or just kick back and have a yarn. 

Lots of crew join without knowing how to surf, just wanting to hang out with like-minded people.

Sure, surfing is part of it, but the real deal is the awesome connections we make – that’s what makes our community!

We have soul surfers to toe dippers, and if you by chance want to learn the art of surfing, we have the skills and experience to help you in a safe space. 

So if you’re interested check out our website  

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