Surf Coach Claudia, Founder of Venus Goes Gidget
We caught up with Claudia Hirschberger, founder and surf coach of Venus Goes Gidget, who's mission is to inspire women to dance on the waves - and through life, and we couldn't agree with her more!
Tell us about Venus Goes Gidget, how did it start and where did the inspiration come?
When I’ve moved to Australia 12 years ago, I totally fell in love with surfing. I actually became a little bit obsessed with it. Originally from Austria, I was totally oblivious to the fact that it surfing was such a male orientated domain. I just started because I loved being in the ocean and I loved the feeling of catching waves. The more I surfed the more I realised that there are actually not many women out there and that most content/education material around surfing was targeted towards men and written in ‘surf lingo’.
So I started Venus Goes Gidget as a blog to write about my surf experiences as a women who started surfing in the mid twenties. I thought the blog might inspire more ladies to give it a go. If an Austrian (yes, Austria is landlocked) woman, who has never seen the ocean until she was 20 can do it, anyone can do it!
When I started the blog, I got really positive feedback and people kept asking me about teaching them to surf. Then I discovered the joy of teaching and it kind of snowballed from there. I did my surf coaching license and launched personal surf training and Surf&Yoga Escapes for women about three years ago where I get the opportunity to share my passion that is surfing with other women.
You arrange yoga and surf retreat's, what one's do you have coming up and what can you expect on the trips?
The Surf&Yoga Escapes are perfect for women who need a bit of a break. The weekends are set in beautiful surrounds. It’s an opportunity to relax and to learn how to surf in a safe environment. Or for the ladies who already surf, it’s a great way to get their confidence up in uncrowded surf. When the ladies are not in the water or getting their zen on during yoga, we spoil them with healthy, yummy food.
We run our Surf&Yoga Escapes once a month. Over the winter months we are up in Boomerang just 3 hours North of Sydney and from September until May, they take place on the stunning South Coast of NSW three hours South of Sydney. Here’s some more info and dates:
You have your own range of surf wear, where did you get inspIration from , and can we expect to see more designs from you?
The inspiration comes from many places. In terms of functionality, it comes from my own surf experience. I am looking for surf wear that doesn’t come off when I play in the waves and is looking great even if I’m not a size 0 supermodel. E.g. our bikini tops stay on when you duck dive and they also work for the ladies with a bigger bust.
The artwork of the Venus Goes Gidget signature design is inspired by Hawaiian shirts (true story). Hawaiian because we love the joy and the spirit of Aloha.
Yes, there will definitely be more designs. We are working on our new range for next year as we speak. Stay Tuned!
What's your favourite thing about teaching someone to surf?
It’s the smile on their face when the catch the first wave. You should see it, there is so much joy and I can tell they forget everything around them. They are just in the moment having the best time.
What's your favourite surfing equipment?
Oh that’s a tough one to answer. It really depends on the conditions. On a small day I love to take out ‘Bear’ (all my surfboards have names) a fun board that’s about 7’6. It’s actually my hubby’s board but nothing beats that board in small conditions. On bigger days I have my Saltshaker short board called the Gidget (it’s got the Venus Goes Gidget signature design on it J). It’s just a standard all round board but it’s a very pretty one.
If you should surf anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hmm there are many locations on my surf bucket list. North Shore Hawaii being one of them. BUT the one wave I would love to see live is Teahupoo in Tahiti. For some reason I’ve always been drawn to this wave. Even when I could barely surf. There is something magical about it. It’s such a powerful wave though. I think I would be happy to just watch it from a boat though. It’s massive and scary and beautiful all at the same time.
What would you say to someone who wants to start surfing?
Come to our Surf&Yoga Escape to give it a try in a safe environment with no crowds!
It doesn’t matter if you are catching a wave lying down on your belly on a board or you are charging barrels, the best surfer is the one who is having the most fun and enjoying the ride.
For you personally, what's the best thing about surfing?
When I’m on a wave, I’m just in the moment. I feel connected to the ocean and in tune with the wave and myself. It’s just beautiful. I love it.
Thanks so much for the catch up Claudia! You can find out more about Venus goes Gidget here