We recently caught up with Simone Jaquay Johnson, who volunteered at our event at Outdoorfest with the Surf Chicas and Lost Weekend Surf shop.
Women, Waves and New York City
Surfing in New York City?! You bet, not a lot of people know that there is a thriving surfing community in NYC, or that there has been an increase in the amount of women catching waves at Rockaway Beach in Queens. I never knew about the subculture until I went to a surf meetup and film screening at Lost Weekend Surf Shop in the Lower East Side, hosted by Outdoorfest, SheJumps and NY Surf Chicas.
I have lived in New York City for ten years and about a year ago I started investigating what outdoor activities were available in the area. I discovered hiking, kayaking, canoeing and so much more. I was floored because I had no idea these activities were around me. But, not as much as when I watched Elisa Bates’ short documentary AWAY, a film that focuses on three female surfers; Katrina del Mar, Mary and Jee Mee. They discuss the impact surfing has on their personal lives, the “fall down seven times, get up eight” mentality that the sport takes, and what it is like to catch waves at Rockaway Beach. From their stories, surfing is something special, it’s consuming, liberating and unifying. Each woman is different and surfing embraces her.
The film ended, but the night wasn’t over just yet. Elisa and Katrina del Mar (who is a photographer and also a filmmaker) held a Q&A session afterward.
I’m glad I’m aware of surf culture in the city and happy to have had the chance to be around so many women interested in learning more about surfing and those who have been surfing for years. Now, where’s that mason jar, time to start saving for surfing lessons next summer!
-Simone Jaquay Johnson.