Updated: Sep 3, 2018
The 5th annual Women’s Expression Session took place August 4th, 2018 at Agate Beach, OR. It was a serene morning; the sun and ocean beckoning us to put our toes in the sand and boards in the sea. Head-high sets rolled into a sandbar down the beach, awaiting the costumed surfers. From the get go, volunteers overwhelmingly made the day. Many hands made light work, and before we knew it, the Registration, Wellness, and Surfrider tents were up and ready to go. The Wellness tent was a new addition this year. You could meet a First Aid Responder, a Counselor, an Optometrist, or an Osteopath there, many of whom were armed with tye dye aprons made by “Mist Rainbow Rider” Leslie Palotas (which won her the Most Vivacious Volunteer award!). Whether you needed sunscreen, a snack, some water, bodywork, or a nice long chat, they had you covered.
Some arrived in their garb and persona (like “Wahine Warrior” & “Dolly Pardon Me”) while others took their time finding the perfect outfit from the costume bins. Over 50 participants from Lincoln county, Westport, Olympia,, Otis, Corvallis, Salem, Beaverton, Eugene, California, Port Angeles, Maui and Arizona showed up to surf! Spectators, friends, and family quickly filled the beach, excited to watch the fun unfold.
The opening circle was formed, signifying our unity and togetherness. We were reminded that the Women’s Expression Session is rooted in the essence and significance of freedom of expression, community, and stewardship. Introductions were made with a name and gesture, then Lady Rizo’s “The Song of Freedom” began, igniting our soul-fire and sparking some festive dance moves.
Free expression heats (meaning no scoring of waves) were 30 minutes long, with enough time for surfers to stretch their sea-legs and enjoy the water, eachother, and some sweet rides. It was a judgement free day, but props were given to those who earned them!
We saw Jocelyn Enevoldsen, the “Black Swan,” combine swooping bird arms with her exceptional costume, vanquishing the The Most Creative Maneuver category. Keenest Vibe was given to Wendy Maris the “Jungle Cat” for her humble, helpful, happy vibe in and out of the water. Whoa-Man! went to Anders Mullin, the positive and peppy grom in the pretty red dress, while Bomb Grom went to Reece Simpson for her persistence and hard work in the waves. Wahine Warrior, also known as Sarah Smith, arrived in full face paint and costume, and could be heard doing warrior calls throughout the day. She took home the Most Stylish Costume award in the form of a red hot-lips purse (to add to her costume bin!). It’s no wonder that “Cookie Monster” Ana Triep earned Gnarliest Wipeout. When you charge as hard as she does, wipeouts are inevitable!
So many courageous individuals showed up to surf for the first time in the Free Lesson, and were in good hands under the guidance of Professional Surfer Kelly Potts, who hailed from Maui, Hawaii. First time wave riders started off with a land lesson and surfing demonstration, then paired up with their own personal surf coach to help them navigate the waves, wipeouts, and fellow surfers.
Magic continued to transpire throughout the day. Dayla Soul, the director and producer of the women’s surf documentary “It Ain’t Pretty”, spent the day spreading her joy and filming heats. She travelled from Pacifica, CA to join in the festivities and inspired our local community with her story. Local photographer Ryan Heim swam in frigid waters to capture the close water action, while Casey Felton flew his drone and shot video interviews of contestants from the beach. Graece Gabriel and Jeff Ouderkirk photographed all the smiles while mingling and celebrating the day.
The Surfrider Foundation was instrumental with their involvement this year. Not only were they a phenomenal co-host of the event, they provided an interactive tent with gifts for participants. Kids and adults alike adorned themselves with tiny bottles they could fill with “nurdles” or microplastic beads. They tied in the stewardship portion by providing gear for the beach clean-up and subsequently large bags of trash were hauled away at the end of the day.
The event culminated with an epic raffle with donated items from our amazing sponsors. This year Rob Russo donated a hand-shaped 7’4 egg surfboard. Todd Fischer, a well known artist in the surf community, donated an original painting. Gear was donated from local surf shops ZuhG Life, Moment, Ossies and Pura Vida. The table was overflowing with wonderful items from 101 Specifically Pacific, Allfound Artistry by Amy Pattison, Zen Stone Garden, OC Eye Care, Roxy, Manda, and Surf Ears. Mo’s Seafood and Chowder provided gifts for all the event volunteers and PrAna donated participant schwag bags. Dutch Bros, Kind Bar, and Dominos kept the crowd well caffeinated and provided some much appreciated snacks. Last but not least, a special thank you to Julia Goos for the incredible event poster and screen printed t-shirts!
Cafe Mundo helped host a radiant after party with local performances by the reggae band ZuhG, Belly dancing by Amber Philpott and Sophia Solano and a fire jam by Amber Philpott, Alli Spencer, Lisa Marques and Meira Cole.
All proceeds from this event go toward the continuation of the Wave Warrior mentoring program and the perpetuation of this community surf day. As this event continues to grow we need ongoing assistance, both in the form of donations and volunteer support.