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Queer Surf Club

#PANGAIAchangemakers

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#PANGAIAChangemakers is a global platform for everyone, everywhere to shine a light on the positive impact individuals can have on the communities that they’re a part of. We invite people to engage with us, tell us their stories, and share their voices.

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About Frazer, founder of the Queer Surf Club

Frazer is a British surfer, landlocked in London. Forever longing for the ocean, he founded the Queer Surf Club after being unable to access the sea during lockdown. He’s driven by his passion of increasing equity for queer folks within wellbeing and sports. When he’s not surfing, or building communities, you’ll find him baking.

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Benny’s Club, NYC @Bennys.Club

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Anna Bieglaski

What is your name and what do you do?
Hi everyone, my name is Frazer, my pronouns are He, Him and His, and I am the founder of the @queersurfclub.

Tell us a little bit about your organisation?
The Queer Surf Club is a global community of LGBTQ+ surfers. Most importantly, we’re also a resource for LGBTQ+ friendly or owned surf related businesses, brands, schools, locations, accommodations – anything do to with surfing. We partner with these places to make sure that they are friendly and accessible to the LGBTQ+ community.

Why is this work so important?
Why is it not so important?! Two main reasons: we know that surf culture generally is very exclusive, very heteronormative, and able-bodied, and white, and patriarchal. And so the traditions around surf culture have westernized surf culture – and have also been appropriated from other cultures. And what it means now to be a surfer or into surfing, is not inclusive for everyone.

Secondly, and most importantly, the mission of the Queer Surf Club is that we want to create inclusive surfing to save our oceans. So we know that the more people we can get into our oceans, and to enjoy them, the more people will actually be interested in saving them. That is first and foremost. What we live with, and where everything comes from, and why we do what we do.

Initially, what prompted you to drive change?
I actually started to learn to surf only about five years ago, but I’d grown up in a family of surfers. And on my first ever surf trip I went abroad, and I actually went to a country where it’s illegal for me to be gay, to be homosexual, LGBTQ, anything. And I didn’t realise until I got there. So I was on a surfing holiday, on a surf trip and the whole time I was anxious and petrified and worried about my life really, about my safety, whether I could disclose who I was. And I was also traveling with my partner at the time, and we had to pretend to be friends. And I had this moment, I was like, I never want another queer kid to feel this way again. And then I realized all the barriers that were existing within surfing, not only getting to the ocean but also the cost of the kit, the access into the ocean, and a layer on top of that, that I was in a country where I could be in jail for being queer. At the end of it all, ultimately, my passion is in how can we save our oceans and how can we help reverse the effect of global warming.

What has been the most rewarding moment of your journey so far?
That’s easy! I used to read surfing magazines as a teenager all the time. Even though I didn’t surf I’d always pick these up and be like, I wanna be a surfer. This is a copy of Surfer magazine, it’s their last ever edition, sadly, which is crazy, and the Queer Surf Club got featured in this, this year. And that’s been amazing. To see how us – and I wanna also share, we’ve been featured alongside lots of other LGBTQ surfing icons and people, and communities, and it’s just incredible to see this community come together suddenly, over the past year, and for us to all interact, and connect, and effectively want the same thing, but do it in all our different ways – it’s so incredible. So yeah, the feature and the community coming together, that’s been really cool.

If you could save one species at the click of your fingers, what would it be?
I’m obsessed with whales. Whales, they’re incredible, I just – what incredible species that still exist in our oceans, and so beautiful. But actually, there’s a really rare dolphin called the Irrawaddy dolphin that lives in a river – I can’t remember the name but I saw them once in a river in Cambodia. And they’re incredible, they’re river dolphins which in general is quite rare, and they look really cute – so yeah, any dolphin or whale, big fan!

Why is it important for brands/companies to become more responsible?
We live in a world where effectively, capitalism is one of the major superpowers in the world. And companies and brands drive that. So companies and brands have a responsibility to make our world a better place and leave it better than they are finding it, or using it for. So in terms of creating a brighter and better future for our people and our planet, every company is responsible – as long as you make money, because you contribute to the ideology and society of capitalism and you drive the boat forward. So you can either use your money and your company to do good, or you can choose not to. Simple as that.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you would want to have with you?
I have it with me right now! This notebook. I’ve always carried a notebook with me, since I was a young teenager. And actually, not this one directly but I have one that is full with all stuff to do with Queer Surf Club – as it was in its conception eighteen months ago. I probably spent about a year writing, drawing, jotting ideas down, building out what the Queer Surf Club could look like and how it could help people. And I filled a notebook with it. So I’ve always got a notebook. This one is my drawing notebook!

What are some small changes people can make in their everyday lives to help save the environment (specifically, in your field)?
If you’re a surfer, consider what barriers exist for other people to enjoy your sport like you do. When you’re out in the water next, look around you who’s out there. Does it reflect the local community, does it reflect the local ages of the community, the demographics, everything. Because if it doesn’t, then as a surfer and as someone who is a custodian of the ocean, who loves the ocean and uses it, you have a responsibility to allow more people to enjoy it like you do. Because the more people enjoy it like you do, the more people will care about it like you do, the more people will want to save it like you do. So simple as, if you have a wetsuit and you have a board, share it with someone around you! Allow someone else to have that passion that you have. And get more people in the ocean, get more people caring about the ocean, and help save our oceans. Thank you!

That’s me, over and out! It’s been fun!