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Surfing In The Time Of Black Lives Matter

Surfers Take A Look Inwards--And Outwards

Unless you have been living under an absolute boulder this past week, you have likely seen what’s going on in this country and around the world.  We are in the midst of a total civil rights fight against the systemic racism that exists as a steady undercurrent.  Black people of America have long been living under the boot of white privilege, and things hit a boiling point and exploded after the death of George Floyd.  Mass protests and even some rioting have been taking place every day for over a week now, and protests have spread around the globe to Australia, England, Canada, and more.

Textured Waves organized an amazing paddle out in solidarity with the protests.  For more information on this amazing organization for surfers of color, please visit

Surfing In The Time Of Black Lives Matter 1
Photo: Billy Watts –

As surfers we need to take a serious look at our culture, and examine ourselves and how we view racism both in our lives and in this hobby we love.  Surfing is a bastion of beautiful white blond beauty standards.  Being black can feel very lonely as a surfer.  We must do our very best to make surfing an inclusive place.  Surfing hasn’t been the best at inclusivity–women and LGBT have been fighting for equality and equal pay in the last decade.  It’s time to extend that to other races and ensure that surfing is a welcoming sport to all.

I am white and I feel that I can’t adequately write about this issue the way it needs to be.  I have invited some members of the surfing community to write opinion pieces for us so that we can give a platform to their voices. stands in complete solidarity and completely supports the current protests.

For now, please watch this excellent video from the paddle out featuring powerful words from Sal Masekela, one of the most well known black voices in action sports:

RACISM & SURFING with Selema MasekelaRACISM & SURFING with Selema Masekela

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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