Her name is Stephanie Teixeira and she’s the Founder of Groove Girls. Born on the Gold Coast and raised by Portuguese and German parents, she started surfing around 14 years old, inspired by her love of the ocean and a desire to enjoy the waves as much as possible. Somehow, she convinced her dad to buy her a surfboard. Every weekend from then on, she would skate or cycle to the beach and spend countless hours catching waves on her orange Sideways 6’2″ fish (which she says is still such a fun board to ride).
Fast-forward a decade, almost. She is now 23 years old, works as a Content Creator for her own business Cisca Studio, owns a quiver of six boards, and surfs as often as conditions and work allow her. She created Groove Girls two years ago to encourage women from all walks of life to join her in the lineup. Interview.
First of all, how did the idea of Groove Girls come up?
The idea sparked in 2019 when I saw a massive gender gap in Gold Coast’s lineups. I began my surfing journey as a young solo female and was always one of the only females out at my local break. It wasn’t until May the same year, when a particular incident occurred at Burleigh Heads, that I realised it was time to do something about it. It made me want to change the gender stereotype culture in the lineup. I had several conversations with other females and quickly realised that we were all feeling the same. We all had similar negative interactions with males in the lineup, which resulted in us having some anxiety when we entered the surf. This was when I knew we had to change.
What exactly happened?
I went out at my local break at Burleigh. It was around 4ft, and I decided to paddle my 5’8 fish from the beach to the back of the lineup. By the time I got out, I was pretty exhausted and was resting on my board until an older man approached me. He said to me completely out of the blue, “What are you doing here? Window shopping?”. I turned my head over and replied, “Excuse me”. He continued to carry on saying things like, “You women just come out here and don’t even catch any waves. Look at you and your pink board, you’re pathetic, you shouldn’t be in the lineup”.
I was shocked and hardly knew how to respond to that, but I wasn’t going to let this male ruin my surf. I spoke back and had some other males supporting me. However, I was utterly disgusted and knew that this culture needed to change. I don’t think I had realised how bad the male-dominated surf culture was until that moment.
We want women to feel supported and encouraged to surf, no matter their ability, race, gender or board.
So, what is your goal with Groove Girls?
The goal is simply to empower and encourage women in the surf. We want women to feel supported and encouraged to surf, no matter their ability, race, gender or board. We aim to inspire women of all walks of life, embracing our differences in and out of the water.
Can you remember your very first meeting?
Of course! Groove Girls was founded in October 2019, and we held our first group surf on the 1st of November 2019. I posted the meet-up information on our Instagram feed and was stoked to have around 15 girls join us in the waves. We surfed on a small day at Snapper Rocks, and it truly was one to remember.
And today, almost two years and a pandemic later, where is Groove Girls at?
The restrictions from Covid-19 made 2020 and 2021 a little more challenging hosting our group surfs. Still, no matter what, we support and encourage girls through social media and all the vibes we bring to the lineups. And I’ve definitely seen an improvement in the gender gap on the Gold Coast. Most of the time, when I head out, I’m pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces, most of which have joined along and supported our mission in the surf.
The younger generation of males is becoming a lot more accepting of women, and I know many well-renowned local old boys that are super supportive of our mission.
So you have actually been witnessing a change recently regarding how women are perceived in the surf?
There has one hundred per cent been a change. There is more respect. The younger generation of males is becoming a lot more accepting of women. I also know many well-renowned local old boys that are super supportive of our mission.
Do you think there is still more work to be done to help the mentality change?
Without a doubt, we are not done yet!
What advice would you give to a woman who would love to surf but worries for whatever reason?
Honestly, the best advice I can give is to give it a go! Book a lesson at a surf school to help you get started. And of course, come along to one of our group surfs. We will welcome you with open arms. You will be sure to make some new friends that will make your surfing journey a whole lot more supportive and enjoyable.
Where do you wish to see Groove Girls in the future?
I really want to see us expand around Australia and bring our mission wherever we go. We started expanding to the Sunshine Coast. However, we’ve only been able to host one group surf so far due to circumstances. Eventually, I’d love to host regular group surfs all around Australia. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to expand, but it’s definitely at the forefront of my mind.
To find out more about Groove Girls or join one of their group surfs, follow them on Instagram.