SeaSisters was founded on the belief that the ocean is for everybody, and that surfing can serve as a powerful tool of change.
In Sri Lanka, local women are hardly seen in the ocean. Despite growing up on an island, most women have never learnt how to swim and thus, fear the ocean. This is the result of traditional gender norms and cultural expectations that has prevented the ocean from becoming 'an accepted space' for women.
Particularly in rural areas, women are expected to stay at home and take care of their families, often excluding them from the recreational and economic opportunities of surf tourism.
But we believe that the ocean is for everybody and that swimming and surfing can serve as powerful tools of social change.
Established in 2018 by two surfers with backgrounds in international development
In August 2018, Amanda Prifti and Martina Burtscher crossed paths on Sri Lanka’s East Coast, where they teamed up to help establish the Arugam Bay Girls Surf Club, the country's first all-female surf club.
Inspired by the impact that swimming and surfing has had on the lives of the women in Arugam Bay, Amanda and Martina moved to the South Coast to enable even more local women to enjoy the benefits of these activities. In October, 2018, SeaSisters was born.
Today, SeaSisters is a growing movement of surfers from all over the world, stepping up for a more inclusive and responsible surf community!
Through our Swim & Surf Program we create a safe space for Sri Lankan girls and women to enjoy the ocean, and influence mindsets around gender norms.
Our weekly lessons are free of charge for local girls and women of all ages,
and are made possible by our volunteer team of female swim and surf instructors.
Using swimming and surfing as tools for empowerment, we focus on building confidence, showing new possibilities, and equipping local women with the skills needed for jobs in the thriving surf tourism industry. Our lessons also serve as a platform to educate on environmental challenges and inspire change.
To support this program, we fundraise and sell ethical products that are handmade by Sri Lankan women for fair wages. We call this our double empowerment model - creating both jobs and the opportunity to swim and surf!