Tofo Boardriders Club

In the middle of last winter I got a message from the Tofo Boardriders Association of Mozambique. The association’s mission is to empower a national, gender-equal, community of young surf athletes, surf industry entrepreneurs and ocean ambassadors committed to creating good jobs and improving ecosystem health.
They were looking for a female Irish surfer to assist build up the Mozambican national team, mentor upcoming athletes, share fresh perspectives on competitive surfing, and assist explore job opportunities in the surf industry. This is where I come into the story!
The Irish Embassy of Maputo are funding the launch of the association’s development program, covering my air tickets to travel to Mozambique and local businesses are assisting with my accommodation while working with the surf team. The Embassy is also providing resources for an intensive surf camp which I will assist manage, introductory marine ecosystem course in collaboration with the Marine Megafauna Foundation, essential surf equipment for male and female surfers, surf spot mapping and naming in the local languages, and brief scoping exercise to identify potential areas to develop jobs in the budding surf tourism industry in Mozambique. 
The vibrant beach town of Tofo, which is the main hub of surfing in the country, has been my temporary home for four days now. So far I have been using my ISA Level 2 coaching qualification and surfing/competition/travel experience to mentor and coach both the Junior and Senior athletes. It has been a thrilling experience to see the stoke and joy in these young surfers, especially females, as they soak up the training sessions. My time here is very rewarding, although I am volunteering and juggling a serious remote workload as I am still working my own job full time while I am here!
In addition to the training sessions I have had the privilege of joining a female surfer round table conversation about the challenges they face in a male dominated sport and community. We also talked at length about how we can get more women into the sport and also into surf related jobs (e.g. surf instructors). There are some similarities with my own experiences in other parts of the world. 
This is a very exciting journey both personally and as a professional surf athlete! Thanks to the Tofo Boardriders Association’s efforts and the start-up funding from the Irish Embassy in Mozambique, I am confident that my experience is going to open up collaborations for future Irish surfers, surfboard shapers and surf industry entrepreneurs in the future! 

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Tofo Boardriders Club - Grace Doyle