New ‘Women and Surfing’ Class Aims to Educate and Empower


PJ Ortega

Brianna Ortega’s passion is “supporting and empowering women”, especially through the love of surfing.

Hawaii is home to the birthplace of surfing. With plenty of women in the water, teacher and surfer Brianna Ortega wants to educate Chaminade students on the importance and impact of women surfers.

“When I grew up in high school (Sacred Hearts, Waldorf) there were fewer women surfers than there are today. ,” Ortega said. “There is sexism against women in the water and in a lot of places around the world still.”

With her new Women and Surfing class (SURF 480), to be held on Tuesday and Thursdays at 10:00am-11:20am, in Spring 2023, she wants to educate students about these issues and provide a bigger picture of the surfing world.

“The class is going to have topics every week and research on women in surfers. Everything will be looking through the female lens when it comes to surfing,” Ortega said. “Racism and sexism. We will cover heavier topics, but I want people to have fun and learn.”

Each week Ortega plans on having a Zoom visitor from around the world. She is looking to have pro female surfers from around the world talk about their journey and experiences in and out of the water. One day she hopes to bring in local pro surfers from Hawaii to speak as well. 

This class and topic means so much to Ortega because of the impact surfing has had on her life. She has been a surfer for 15 years and has a wealth of experience when it comes to the water. She describes her relationship with the ocean as a “spiritual experience.” She wants to be able to provide as much knowledge about surfing but also the journey that female surfers go through to do what they love. 

“Surfing is everything to me, it is an experience for me to connect to God,” said Ortega. 

Her personal experience with the water and surfing has opened her eyes in wanting to impact others. Connecting with other female surfers around the world and to talk about a variety of topics has been a great learning experience for her and she wants to do the same for her students. 

“My passion is supporting and empowering women,” said Ortega. “Surfers have a lot of stories and embodied experiences that they can share and this is something I can do for my students.” 

Ortega has created a podcast called Sea Together, with different workshops to create a female community that supports global women’s surf movement. In this form of expression she covers topics about mental health, surfing tips, professional inspiration, and the environment. She often hosts guest to talk about their personal journey and what surfing means to them. To learn more, follow the podcast Instagram page (@sea.together.meg).

While the class is titled Women and Surfing, there is an emphasis on studying women but this class is for anyone. There is a need for students to sign up for this class to happen. There are currently no students registered in the course and there is a minimum of five students needed. If interested in the Women and Surfing class, reach out and inquire more information with Ortega through her email [email protected].