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Taking The Initiative- For Girls, By Girls

Carly Coble is a force to be reckoned with. A recent graduate of Manasquan High School, this young woman has made it her mission to empower and support young female athletes in a big way. She's accomplished this with her creation of the For The Girls Surf Classic- a surf contest for girls that has become a major event for those in the surfing community.

Carly's passion for surfing is contagious, and her dedication to seeing more young women take to the waves is inspiring. Her initiative in creating a space for young female surfers to showcase their skills is something truly special, and we can't wait to see what she'll accomplish with this year's event on Saturday, July 22 in Spring Lake.

As soon as we heard about Carly's dedication to her sport and her uplifting energy towards other women, we knew we had to chat with her....

Can you tell us about how you got into surfing and what inspired you to pursue it as a sport?

"I’ve always loved the ocean, so when I took surf lessons as a child, I immediately fell in love with the sport. Like everything else I do, I wanted to be the best I could be at it. So when I learned that other girls in the community were competing, I wanted to try it and was determined to push myself to meet and eventually go beyond the level set by my fellow competitors at the time."

As a young female surfer, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

"As a young female surfer, I have often doubted myself and my abilities to keep up especially amongst a large community of talented male surfers. But doubt is something I think we all face individually. With that in mind, I have leaned on the support of my family and faith. Ignoring the lies I often tell myself has helped me to overcome and keep progressing."

How has surfing empowered you and what lessons have you learned from the sport?

"Surfing has taught me so many lessons that I would never have been able to learn playing a different sport. Not only does it force you to adapt and persevere in an uncontrollable, ever-changing environment, but it allows you to learn how to be independent, which is something that has empowered me for most of my life. Unlike other sports, surfing forces you to learn to face challenges often alone in the water, which has greatly helped me to be more confident and calm in the daily stresses or storms I face."

What advice would you give to other young girls who are interested in surfing but may feel intimidated or discouraged?

"Don’t let your fears win. It’s so easy to submit to your fears especially after a nasty wipe out, loss in a competition, or when the waves are big. But what’s the fun in that? My advice is to let it go and face your fears head on. Go and surprise yourself. Learn to love to be uncomfortable and eventually the things that once held you back won’t seem as scary."

What is the most memorable surf session you have had and what made it stand out to you?

"One of my most memorable sessions was in Hawaii when I was training with local legend, Tamayo Perry. It was one of the sessions where things just clicked and I felt like I finally reached the next step in the progression of my surfing. He helped me to be more confident and reach beyond my limits."

How important do you think it is for the surfing community to have more events and contests specifically for female surfers?

"I think it’s very imperative that the surf community has more events and contests for females. I can see all the potential there is for expanding the small group of female surfers there currently is, which makes it all the more important to continue fostering the upcoming generation of girls to surf more and compete."

Who are some female surfers you look up to and how have they influenced your own surfing journey?

"Bethany Hamilton greatly influenced my own surfing throughout my life. Her faith, perseverance through adversity, and courage helped me to push myself to go beyond what I thought were my limits. She made me excited to surf."

And of course, tell us about the For The Girls Surf Classic!

"I was inspired to host For The Girls Surf Classic as a way to give back to the community that has supported me for my entire life, especially with surfing. I want the next generation of girls to be encouraged to compete. I also want them to feel more comfortable and excited to surf bigger waves and go out during the winter swells when the water temperature drops significantly. Not only do the girls benefit from the fun day that this event tries to offer, but they get to experience the lessons taught from competing in surf contests. Not everyone is going to win, but what is important is how you get back up and move on from the loss as well as support your friends when it’s their time to shine. I think that this is a highly valuable lesson especially for girls 11 to 14 years old (our most popular division)

Each year I try to donate the money raised to an organization that I hold close to my heart. The proceeds for the second annual For The Girls Surf Classic will go to the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation, which strives to give those with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers the support, resources, and funding they need to live independent and meaningful lives. I was inspired to go this route after my close friend, Aaron Van Trease, suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a football game on September 23, 2022, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. After seeing the trials he and his loved ones have had to face throughout this season of life, I wanted to do something to help others who are inevitably going through the same process.

The sponsors for this year’s event are Barewires Surf Shop, Sisstrevolution, I-SEA Sunglasses, FINS, FCS, Sun Bum, Chemistry Surfboards, Hammer Surf School, Benny’s Pizza, Radcakes, Joe Leone’s, TheOisF, Local Waves, Sand and Sugar, Hermosa Hair Studio, Wave Maiden, and Skudin Surf. The artwork was created by my close friend, Meghan Stehle, a local artist who also just graduated from Manasquan High School. There are 4 divisions: 10 and Under, 11 to 14, 15 to 17, and Open (all ages)."

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