Surf's Up

Phillip Island Boardriders Club (PIBC), established in 1963, lays claim to the oldest continuously running surf club in Australia. Hannah Eisen, the second female President in the club’s history, tells us about PIBC and their work to create a stronger and more diverse committee and surfing community.

What are the best parts about being involved in Phillip Island Boardriders Club?

We run our own events over the Spring, Summer and Autumn months across a number of different formats, age divisions and locations on Phillip Island, as well as competing in state and national club events.

There are so many amazing aspects of being involved in the PIBC. The health benefits of participating in surfing are amazing, both mental and physical. The club gives a sense of purpose, community and connection. Belonging to PIBC has provided opportunities that have helped develop confidence, friendships, and interactions with people from various backgrounds, both in and out of the water. To be part of a club and develop a strong sense of belonging and purpose is something money can’t buy. Participating in surfing has given me courage and provided experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have had. This club has linked me with so many good people who I am proud to call my friends.

Junior Club Member Abby Clarke, President Hannah Eisen and Committee Member Natalie Van Der Hayden

Tell us about your committee members?

Previously there has been a majority of men on the committee, with maybe 1 or 2 women involved (and usually because their kids or husbands were in surfing in the club). The record number of surfers on the committee this season is commendable… PIBC now has committee members ranging from as young as 14-years-old, both men and women; brothers, sisters, mums, dads, aunts, and uncles are all getting involved from junior level to senior level. This is a massive step forward in what has previously been a male dominated sport.

How important is being inclusive and having diverse members in your community?

Diversity and inclusion to PIBC is more than policies, programs, or headcounts. PIBC are extremely serious about respecting the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of all club members. As a result, our diverse and inclusive club earns deeper trust and more commitment from our surfers. We have a large portion of women surfers signing up and a big senior division (over 60-years-old) who all want to support anyone willing to give surfing a go; without judgement on looks, background, ability, gender or race.

This has changed a lot since the 1970s, evident in the movie “Girls Can’t Surf” which documented the sexist and misogynist culture in surfing. PIBC is making progress having a better ratio of male to female surfers on our committee and in our membership base. It is awesome to be part of the story.

Club Members at a local surf contest

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in a committee but isn't sure how?

I was hesitant myself to get involved on the PIBC committee until I was encouraged to come  along to a meeting – I was thrown into the role as President weeks later!

I had extreme imposter syndrome which still sneaks in from time to time. I have learnt to put my anxiety and fear aside and put my passion to help my community at the forefront of why I am in the role. I have to remind myself that am involved because I absolutely love where I live, I love  my community and I am excited to see PIBC succeed and the next generation of surfers come through.

It important to participate in committees and I would encourage anyone with a passion, skill or any sort of enthusiasm to reach out and get involved. The inclusion of committees within a  club showcases stronger direction of leadership and encourages growth within the club and  community. Committee work improves culture and cohesiveness between our surfers and members across all levels.

Wednesday 17 August, 2022

Change Our Game

Learn more about
Change Our Game