The sun may have been shining recently, but storms of discontent have been brewing across the world. On Saturday 13th June, the ever cold waters off the coast of Brighton were warmed with solidarity. A brave community of swimmers, paddle-boarders and surfers ventured into the sea in a heartfelt display of peaceful protest against systemic racism.
Brighton’s ‘Solidarity in Surf Paddle Out’ was organised by RubyMoon, in collaboration with The Holistic Journal and Mr Bongo, in wake of the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder and the resulting rise in awareness of racism embedded deeply within our societies. The event preceded the main Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brighton. The paddle out was great to spread even more awareness and show solidarity within the surfing community.
Recent events have enraged communities across the globe, and spurred recognition of the systemic racism in our societies. Racial discrimination has been embedded in social systems through longstanding historic narratives, and lack of action or acknowledgement from those with privilege has only allowed its deeper permeation.
Why a Paddle Out?
Brighton’s paddle out was one of many taking place globally in support of the Solidarity in Surf movement. The movement was originally created by Black Girls Surf, a non-profit organisation dedicated to celebrating black women in surfing. Although surfing as a pastime was largely developed by brown skinned Polynesians, the sport has become increasingly white washed. The segregation of beaches in the early 20th century, and the restricted property rights of black citizens, constructed US beaches as ‘white’ spaces. Although segregation laws are a thing of the past, the structures they created have lingered on, and surfing continues to be a misrepresentative sport. Black Girls Surf and their Solidarity in Surf movement aim to challenge this long-outdated situation by empowering black women in the surfing community.
With widespread public outrage championing the Black Lives Matter movement, awareness of systemic racism is at an all-time high. Through Solidarity in Surf Paddle Outs, our community is taking a step back and declaring that enough is enough. As emotions run high, surfers, paddle boarders and swimmers took to the sea in a peaceful protest aligned with the chilled out, laid back image of the community.
Brighton’s paddle out was a display of sheer unity, harmonising a solemn cause with the energy and vibrancy the city is known for. From spelling out the letters ‘BLM’ in bikinied bodies laid out across the pebbles, to seaside breathwork and water aerobics. The passion of our protestors was a source of pride as they gathered in solidarity and commitment to ending systemic racism within the surfing community and society as a whole. We thank the members of the RubyMoon community who were able to come along and show their support, and extend our commitment to the Solidarity in Surf and wider Black Lives Matter movements.