THIRTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD Angelina Pallisier just got back from Bali. Her hair is sun-kissed, her skin is glowing and you can see her eyes light up as she recalls the most recent Sisterhood of Surf (SOS) retreat – a venture that began based on nothing more than the simple desire to share a love of surfing with other women.
“I grew up between Eumundi and Redcliffe with a surfing family and every second weekend I was out in the water with my dad and my brother,” Angie says.
“I was that teenager rocking all things Roxy and Billabong and wearing that choker shell necklace, but I was known as the queen of the whitewash by my family,” she laughs.
“When COVID happened, my business was affected, so I decided to throw myself into the deep end, literally, and learn how to surf better. I signed up to surfing programs, hired coaches and the personal trainer in me created fitness programs to improve my movement in the water.”
In June 2022, Angie went on an eight-day surf camp in Indonesia. It was a trip where all levels were welcomed. The waves, though, were definitely not beginner-friendly.
“There was a woman crying, laying on her board out the back and when I went over to help, it clicked that this inclusive retreat wasn’t really all that inclusive and so many of the participants were simply overwhelmed,” she says.
“Surfing should be a fun and positive experience, so that night I came up with the idea to run my own retreats for women who were at a beginner level. I worked on a plan that included surfing, adventure, new experiences, motivational coaching, culture and, well, sisterhood. I sent a proposal to a well-known surf retreat in Indonesia; we spoke two days later, and that’s how Sisterhood of Surf International Retreats started.”
Sisterhood of Surf is a community of women supporting each other through the power of the ocean.
“I ran my very first one-day surf event on the Sunshine Coast in November 2022, hoping to show others what the ocean has done for me. I wanted it to be the beginning of my own surf community. And, well, it worked.
“Since that day, we have been able to get 160 women into the water through our one-day events and many more with the retreats,” Angie says.
After running her own successful fitness business for 12 years, the former health coach says nothing beats the community she’s built with the sisterhood.
“I have done some amazing things in my career,” she tells salt. “I have run large health organisations, helped others to start up businesses and have loved growing my own business, The Active Sisters.
“However, Sisterhood of Surf has been the highlight. I love seeing change in women. I love surf, travel, adventure, and I love empowering others.
“We take women out of their normal busy environments and give them a chance to connect with themselves and build confidence. Imagine a group of women coming together, excited yet anxious with self-doubt, but then collectively, they discover that they can learn this new skill and have fun surrounded by other women who support them.
“After every overseas retreat, or even at the end of a surf day in Caloundra, I am honestly standing in front of a different group of women to who they were at the start. And that’s why I know what we are doing is so powerful and more than just surf.”
A Noosa girl at heart, Angie is passionate about bringing women to her home breaks too.
“Some of my fondest memories with my dad are from days out in the ocean at Noosa Heads,” she says. “It is where I learnt how to surf. I love that in a place like Noosa, you don’t even need to be catching the waves to enjoy the stunning surrounds and really feel grounded.”
Since 2022, all one-day events have booked out. Angie and the crew have also had three successful female beginner-level surf retreats, with six more sold out in Indonesia and Lennox Head. Sisterhood of Surf hosts the one-day events at Happy Valley in Caloundra. These events include an on-land mobility and movement class, surf education and a lesson with a local surf school, healthy catered food, a goodie bag and even beach cabanas and music, so after the surf, you get to hang out with your new surf friends.
“On these days, we also help to connect women with other like-minded women, so you become another sister’s ‘woohoo girl’ for the day. Everyone in our community also can join in for weekly Zoom surf-specific workouts and connect by chatting in our online groups,” Angie says.
“My next goal is to grow the SOS family so we can expand our events to new locations, host more retreats and more collaborations.”
And what is Angie’s advice for those wanting to get in the water or try something new?
“Don’t forget to smile, maybe even throw in a ‘yeow’ if you see someone catch a good wave. Kindness doesn’t cost anything, and it could make someone’s day.”