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Slide We’re a bunch of passionate surfers who have created a unique women’s surf group. We want to share our love of surfing with you – whether you’re an experienced surfer or have never picked up a board before. We’re based in Newquay, Cornwall, and get our kicks showing you our stunning Cornish coastline and all the amazing waves it has to offer. But we also venture further afield, and have a range of trips in destinations around Europe, Africa and America. Wherever in the world you choose to join us, we love helping you smash your goals, build your confidence and simply have fun with like-minded women by your side. WHO ARE WE? About Us About Our Story

Slide If you’ve ever tried surfing, you’ll know how fun and addictive it is! We understand you might occasionally get stuck in a rut, and frustrated with a lack of progression. They are for women like you, who want to learn to surf or take their skills to the next level. We specialise in premium women’s surf coaching and provide a safe, friendly environment. We offer both individual photo and video analysis and a unique surf theory session to help drastically develop and refine your surfing.
The cornerstone of Women + Waves is our strong, in-house trained team. We’ve developed our own coaching techniques and teaching style to maximise fun whilst still getting results. We want to nurture strong, happy, confident women who shred!
WHY WOMEN + WAVES? About Us

Slide We're an all-female surf collective. We offer surf coaching weekends and international surfing holidays to women of all ages, experiences and backgrounds. Enjoy our online coaching tips, blog, surf society members’ discussion group and surfing workshops, and we have a shop jam-packed with Women + Waves merchandise. We offer insured, qualified, experienced tuition in waves suitable for each individual surfer’s ability. WHAT WE DO About Us

Slide Support

We fully support our surf community. We don’t judge and we’re here to help you every step of the way throughout your surfing journey.
Passion

Passion fuels our purpose – we love what we do! We get a buzz from helping you, and this fires our love of surfing even more!


Fun

We believe the best surfer is the one having the most fun! Our weekends and holidays are a no-pressure environment. Expect good vibes only!
Commitment

We’re invested in your progress and are committed to helping you become the best surfer you can be.
Community

We’ve nurtured a strong community of like-minded women through our online platforms and surf trips. It’s a friendly, welcoming environment that’s founded on a passion for surfing.
OUR CORE VALUES About Us

MEET THE TEAM

Rachel

RACHEL MURPHY

FOUNDER + DIRECTOR

Rob

ROB BARBER

DIRECTOR

Maddie

MADDIE MEDDINGS

TRIP LEADER + PHOTOGRAPHER

Anya

ANYA GILBERT

BLOG EDITOR

Amelia

AMELIA

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Monica

MONICA

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Judy

JUDY

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Ruby

RUBY

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Clare

CLARE

SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

Cire

CIRE

SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ashleigh Yob

ASHELIGH YOB

TRIP LEADER + PHOTOGRAPHER

Sarah

SARAH

SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

Sophie

SOPHIE SMITH

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Marie

MARIE

PHOTOGRAPHER

Lily

LILY

SURF INSTRUCTOR

Alice Ferguson

ALICE

PHOTOGRAPHER

  • Rachel

    RACHEL MURPHY

    FOUNDER + DIRECTOR

    I was born and raised in Cornwall and loved the water for as long as I can remember. The beach was my playground. I started bodyboarding as a kid and joined a local surf life-saving club. I just loved being in the water; no matter how cold it was or what the waves were doing. As long as I got in the water, I was happy and I became totally addicted!

    I started out dunking wetsuits at a surf school from the age of 16. I then continued to work within the surf industry; from being an activity instructor, centre management, surf shops to surf travel which allowed me to surf all over the world. In 2017, I combined my passion and knowledge and launched Women + Waves.

    I started Women + Waves to unite all water-loving women together in a surf club environment. It didn’t matter how good they were, or if they just wanted to dip their toes in. It was just about getting in the water, washing the day away and having fun in a comfortable, non-pressure environment. A lot of my other friends and other local females wanted to join in too. They wanted all-female surf lessons, surf weekends + holidays, hints and tips, an extra confidence boost and a chance to meet like-minded women.

    That’s when the Women + Waves ‘surf society’ really blossomed. We’ve created a welcoming women’s surf community where we all fully support each other.

    The vibe’s contagious and I love seeing how stoked everyone looks after a surf session with us. Plus knowing that surfing may have just changed their lives forever!

  • Rob

    ROB BARBER

    DIRECTOR

    My obsession with the ocean began aged 9 during summers on the beach where I learned to bodysurf, and then ride a polystyrene belly board. Aged 11 I bought a second hand bodyboard, which had half the rail missing as it had been eaten by a dog!

    From there it’s been an amazing rollercoaster ride that I will always be grateful to the ocean for. I focused all my efforts on bodyboarding and surfing. Bodyboarding was where I made the fastest improvements and I was determined to turn pro. After finishing 1996 as the highest ranked European in the world after a strong performance at the world championships at Pipeline, Hawaii, I turned pro. I was being paid by my sponsors to travel around the world competing, training and working on photo and video shoots. In my best year I won 11 UK events including the biggest UK national tour to date. By my mid twenties I finished a degree in Business and Finance and started work for Carve Surfing Magazine and ThreeSixty Bodyboard Magazine. The surf industry was booming and I was paid to choose locations to organise photo trips for the magazine. This is where my love of travel and creating dream surf trips began. At the same time I transferred my love of competing to focus on coaching. After years of representing the English and British teams I landed the job of British team surf coach and after taking the team to events in Ecuador, South Africa, Portugal, France and Brazil the highlight was coaching the team to their best ever result of 8th place at the World Championships in California.

    Little did I know that organising the magazine trips and taking the British team around the world would furnish me with a unique set of skills that would equip me to create incredible surfing holidays in the future.

    The late 2000’s was a busy time as I took the opportunity to launch two businesses off the back of my results and experience. Newquay Activity Centre (NAC) and Bodyboard-Holidays were born. NAC was recently awarded gold in the South West Tourism Awards and Bodyboard-Holidays now offer 40+ international coaching holidays around the world.

    Rachel and I joined forces to make Women + Waves the best company of its kind in the world and that is my new focus. These days I spend as much time as I can with my young children Mila and Parker, with my partner Claire, in the water or working on the businesses. I love the vibrant energy and ever increasing participation in ladies surfing. Creating and delivering events around the world is a dream job that I’m very grateful for and passionate about.

  • Maddie

    MADDIE MEDDINGS

    TRIP LEADER + PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience: Surfing regularly since I was 16

    Qualifications: ISA level 1 Instructor

    Home Break: In between Westward Ho! And Fistral at the moment

    Fave Breaks: In the UK it’s got to be Croyde, or a little secret spot near home. Overseas I’d say all the breaks in El Salvador.

    Why do you love being a trip leader? Ah there’s tonnes of reasons. First of all it’s the people I get to meet along the way. Whether it’s the wonderful women I’m teaching, the local guides or the accommodation staff. Everyone is always stoked to be in these beautiful surroundings, doing the thing they love with a bunch of like minded folk. Helping the chicas smash their goals, whether it’s getting to green waves, improving a duck dive or learning to cross step is such an exciting process and it makes me feel like a giddy little grom again haha! The places I’ve had the chance to visit so far (I’ve taught in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Morocco and of course here in the UK) have been breathtaking, and such a perfect platform for learning and improvement.

    Photography Experience: I’ve been shooting since 2014 so around 5 years now, went freelance last year and haven’t looked back 🙂

    Most inspired by: Juno Calypso is one of my fave female photog’s, she’s super quirky and you’ve got to take a good hard look to take her images in. Natalie Jurrjens is a Melbourne based film photographer with the most beautiful, simplistic style! When it comes to surf photography it’s really lame but my boyfriend’s work is incredible.

    Fave surf breaks to shoot: Anywhere with a solid backdrop and the potential for a blinding sunrise/sunset. Cornwall’s pretty ideal for it, crystal clear aquamarine waters, amazing cliff formations and some amazing local surfers, couldn’t ask for much more.

    Other passions: writing + cooking

  • ANYA GILBERT

    BLOG EDITOR

    Surfing has meant a bunch of things to me over the years; headspace, fitness, brain freeze…but whether done in cold water or warm, this sport continues to enrich my life.

    After studying degrees in Surf Science and Sports Journalism at University I worked as a journalist for surfing publications, covering events and stories internationally from Oahu’s North Shore to the volcanic coastlines of the Canary Islands.

    I’m now London-based for work and navigating the conundrum of being an inner-city surfer, trying my best to find balance whilst landlocked. Women + Waves used to be my local surfing club and I’m stoked to be helping curate a blog which celebrates surfing in all seasons, along with our diverse community of wave-riding women.

  • Amelia

    AMELIA

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience: I have been surfing since the summer of 2018, since learning I have surfed as regularly as possible, I love experimenting with different board sizes. I started to compete in longboarding on the British longboard circuit and love taking part in the events.

    Qualifications: I have my RLSS Beach Lifeguard and ISA level 1 surf coaching

    Home Break: Wembury

    Fave Breaks: Bantham, St Trojan

    Other passions: Playing Lacrosse for Uni, Skiing, travelling

  • Monica

    MONICA

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience:

    I’m born and bred in Cornwall, spending my childhood in the sea. I had my first surf lesson at an after school club when I was 13 in Polzeath. Over the next 5 years I surfed on and off, sharing my time with other sports, until I became addicted. After graduating from University I completed my surf instructor qualification and worked on Harlyn beach for 2 years – with a 4-month trip around South East Asia in between to get my surf and travel fix. From here I interned with a surf travel company in their head office, followed by instructing on their 13-week surf adventure in South Africa and Mozambique and at their school in Perranporth. I have worked for Women and Waves over 2 summers and I absolutely love it!

     

    Qualifications:

    Level 1 Surf Instructor

    Surf Coach Safety & Rescue award

    Business and Management BSc degree from Sussex University with Year Abroad

     

    Home Break: 

    Harlyn / Boobys Bay / Constantine Bay 

     

    Fave Breaks:

    Home is best! It’s hard to beat surfing fun waves with your girl gang; mine also includes my two sisters, which makes it even more special. However, Mozambique does have some pretty epic right hand point breaks (my favourite!) and the far North of New Zealand has some insane isolated spots – which are only accessible in a 4×4, but who doesn’t love a challenge and a secret spot?

     

    Other passions:

    Football, camping in my van that I converted myself. Also travelling (but if a country doesn’t have a surf-able coastline I probably won’t be going there!).

  • Judy

    JUDY

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience: I’ve been surfing for 6 years, when I started out mucking around on foamies at the beach in Dubai, before properly getting into it once I moved to Devon 4 years ago. Since then I’ve never looked back! I began coaching last year, I had a very busy summer season working in Newquay. I really love working with newbies to the sport, and building confidence, as I understand how it feels to start out!

     

    Qualifications: SLSGB Lifeguard and ISA Surf coach, as well as my Bachelor Degree in Biology.

     

    Home Break: Sunset Beach, Dubai, is where I first learnt to surf (not the best wave in the world, but fun!). Now I love Bantham. It’s the best spot near where I live.

     

    Fave Breaks: Bantham, Devon for a quick post-work surf and also South Fistral is always a good place to be.

     

    Other passions: Running, cooking and skiing

  • Ruby

    RUBY

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience: I started surfing when I was 14, so about 7 years now. I first learnt to surf in the North Sea, and have gradually made my way to Cornwall for better surf and warmer water! I have been coaching for almost 4 years, both around the UK and in Australia.

    Qualifications: I’m an ISA level 1 surf coach, and over summer I also work as a Beach Lifeguard for the RNLI in Scarborough, my hometown.

    Home Break: My home break is Cayton Bay, Scarborough – the North East is the UK’s hidden surfing gem!

    Fave Breaks: My favourite break is probably any spot at home; I love the empty waves and friendly vibe up there.

    Other passions: Other than surfing, I love to climb, and while at uni I spent a lot of time in the climbing gym when the weather and surf is bad. Over summer I try to get outdoors and do some sport climbing when I can.

  • Clare

    CLARE

    SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience:  I have been taking photos for the last 8 years. I was primarily a surfer, I started surfing 10 years ago and then learnt to take photos underwater whilst working as a Dive instructor out in Mexico. Following this I spent two years living in South Africa photographing surfing, wildlife and working in the Cape Town film industry. 


    Most inspired by: The things that inspire me are empty landscapes, nature, surf and beautiful light, to me light makes a photo and when these things all come together I get very excited.

    Fave surf breaks to shoot: I find it hard to point one spot as a favourite break to shoot. I have favourite ones that I surf but when it comes to shooting I like mixing it up and going to new places. Often my favourite place to shoot is one that I have never photographed before, I like the challenge of finding the best angle and exploring a new spot.

    Other passions: I try to use my photography to raise awareness of conservation and environmental issues. Currently working closely with Odyssey Innovation who make Kayaks out of 100% marine plastic (from fishing net and ocean litter). They are contributing to cleaner oceans and creating a more circular economy. I also have worked on a few things with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust including documenting the progress of the Beavers they released into Cornwall a few years ago.

  • Cire

    CIRE

    SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience: I’ve been taking photos in the ocean for about 13 years and was inspired to become a marine photographer after watching Blue Planet repeatedly! I studied Marine and Natural History Photography at uni and have continued my love of shooting in and around the ocean ever since. I really enjoy the variety of surf photography, whether I am perched up on a cliff capturing from afar or floating about in the ocean shooting the action close up. There are so many challenges involved with surf photography, which makes every session completely different and exciting. I am at my happiest when in the ocean, so am thrilled that my passion enables me to be surrounded by the sea as much as possible.

     

    Most inspired by: In terms of surf photography I would have to say Margarita Salyak. Her images are always completely stunning whether it’s an intense action shot or more of a lifestyle shoot. In terms of general inspiration, I think that the work Madison Stewart is doing with Project Hiu and her efforts to promote the conservation of sharks and banning of the finning industry is incredible.

     

    Fave surf breaks to shoot: Hossegor was pretty incredible to shoot, as even from the shore, you are so close to the action. Anchor Point in Morocco was also pretty perfect to shoot. I also love shooting in and around the water at Whitsand Bay, as it is my favourite stretch of coastline.

     

    Other passions: I really enjoy surfing and travel as well as photography and am also passionate about sharks and would love to do more work involved in shark conservation.

  • Ashleigh

    ASHLEIGH YOB

    TRIP LEADER + PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience: Surfing since … Forever! I grew up on the beach. I started catching my own waves when I was around 6 years old, and haven’t stopped since! I ride both a longboard and shortboard and have been fortunate to travel extensively in search of beautiful waves.

    
Qualifications: ISA surf coach with 17 years coaching experience, Qualified Beach Lifeguard.

    
Home Break: Constantine Bay, UK will always be my home break…. Now I live in Oceanside California and Oceanside Pier, Southside is my regular spot!

     

    Fave Breaks: Tea Tree Bay Noosa Australia, San Onofre California, C-Street Ventura, Lakey Peak Sumbawa and too many more to name

    Other passions: Surfing is my first and all consuming love but I have always enjoyed photography and am stoked to have made the move to become a professional surf photographer since my move from the UK to California. I have also recently taken up the challenge of snowboarding. With the mountains being only a short drive from the surf here in San Diego. I love to travel and explore and am always planning my next adventure.

  • Sarah

    SARAH

    SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience: I remember clicking away on a big surf day in St. Agnes back in 2006 with my first camera, a ‘point and squirt’ Fuji FinePix. People came up to me asking to look at shots I’d taken … and it started from there really. I surfed as a young child but, thanks to my dad, I’d always had a fascination for photographs and photography. I guess, over time, I swapped my surfboard for the camera, as I couldn’t stop thinking about all the shots I was missing! I’ve ‘developed’ my skills over the past fourteen years… and the equipment I use!

    Published Including

    • Forthcoming, National Geographic
    • Stand Up Paddle Magazine, front cover
    • Carve
    • Cornish World
    • Pit Pilot
    • The Real Surf Magazine
    • Most national newspapers
    • Local newspapers

     

    Favourite shot: Mmm… I’m sure I’m not the only photographer who finds this is a difficult one! I do have a photo on my lounge wall that I took in 2007 at Triggs Point in Western Australia. This surfer just stood out for me among about 50 surfers on the peak… he was ripping and I watched him for ages.

    Why do you love taking photos of surfing?  Well… my ninety-year-old dad has just bought a SUP so I guess you could say it’s been in my blood since I can remember. When I’m on the beach with my camera I’m in my element, especially when I’m photographing the Groms and witnessing their progression. Living in St. Agnes, I’m also on hand to capture RNLI rescue scenes, which are used to assist in training sessions. Other areas of photography experience include fashion shoots and weddings.

  • Sophie

    SOPHIE SMITH

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience:  I have been surfing since 2018 – such a newbie! I had my first ever surf lesson at Muizenberg Bay in South Africa and fell in love. I have always been a lover of the sea, growing up in Poole, Dorset I was a keen windsurfer in my teens along with kayaking and swimming. After moving to Cornwall in 2018, I soon became obsessed with surfing. I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous 8ft single fin, which is a dream to ride.

    Qualifications: ISA Surf instructor Level 1.

    Home Break: Whipsiderry Beach.

    Fave Breaks: I have definitely fallen in love with Crantock recently! Yet to get abroad for some warmer weather surfs!

    Other passions: Keen photographer with my own wedding photography business, lover of yoga and keen to combine the world of autism and surf therapy together in the future!

  • Marie

    MARIE

    PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience:
    I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. When I was about 5 years old I got my first film camera (It was a matching set with binoculars and sunglasses!) I took it on a trip around Nova Scotia in Canada and took pictures of the beaches we visited and of the dolphins and wales on our boat trip. I have stacks of photo albums in my parents house! I guess it wasn’t until I purchased my first DSLR in 2010 that I really started getting interested in surf photography. I could be seen most days on top of a cliff shooting local surfers, nature and sunsets. I recently purchased a water case for my camera so I can shoot right in the water, and its best feeling in the world!

    What inspires me?
    I love the sea, arts, colours and nature. There is something special about the change of seasons. The perfect day for me starts with a cold sea swim, followed by an outdoors adventure with the camera (walk in a field, mountain, woodland or seaside) and ends with an evening watching the sunset. Maybe throw in a couple of animals and then it’s paradise!

    Favourite shot
    That’s a very difficult question to answer for an artist! I think I have many I like when I first took them but I’m always chasing the next opportunity to take a cooler image! I guess the dream would probably be to live in a place like Hawaii where the water is warm, the sea is clear blue, some perfect waves, amazing sunset skies and some dolphins thrown in 🙂

    Passions
    Travelling, seeing the worlds, languages, human connections (family, friends…), the arts (especially dance, painting, music), protecting the Earth (especially from plastic/pollution), animal rights (veganism, rescues), swimming in the sea and of course photography! 🙂

  • Lily

    LILY

    SURF INSTRUCTOR

    Experience:

    I learned to surf when I was pretty little but only really got the bug when I was 16, my mum grew up in Cornwall so we spent all our holidays down here. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of years in New Zealand where I worked as a surf coach in a very beautiful little surf town. Now I’m home and very stoked to be a part of the Women and Waves team!

    Qualifications: ISA Surf and lifeguard qualification with coaching experience in the UK and NZ and am currently doing my undergrad in Geography and International Development at Sussex uni.

    Home Break: Polzeath!

    Favorite Break: Manu Bay, a lush point break in Raglan, NZ where I lived (it is a left and I’m regularly footed though so my backhands are almost better than my forehand haha..)

    Other passions: I love wild swimming and generally being outdoors (preferably in the sunshine!), I dabble with watercolor painting and playing guitar and just love hanging out with great people!

  • Alice

    ALICE FERGUSON

    PHOTOGRAPHER

    Experience : I have been taking and making photographs and videos for the last 13 years. I was an Art and Photography teacher who did commercial work on the side until the side hustle became full time. I learnt to surf in the UK around 10 years ago and then went back home to live in South Africa where I spent three years surfing every day before and after work which is where I got into surf photography and videography. I am happiest either in or around the sea and I love having work that allows me share and capture it.

    Most inspired by Lucia Griggi, Chris Burkard and Luki O’Keefe for their work capturing the sea and those who live and play in it. Natural light and refractions with water, watching sea greens and blues change hue each time I shoot.

    Favourite shot : A tough one to choose, but I’d say a selection of the empty breaks around the west coast of Sri Lanka that I had the good fortune to go and surf. It felt like I was the only surfer there and the water was clear teal, complete paradise.

    Why do you love taking photos of surfing?

    The thing I love the most about surfing is the magic of being ‘stoked’ the surf slang for when the moment it clicks for a surfer happens and the passion for surfing peaks. This is what I like to capture when I take images of surfers surfing because the surfer having the most fun is the one having the best session and it’s a joy to watch.