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our legacy

Our Legacy

Honoring our past:
The evolution of salted roots from Brown Girl Surf

As we take on the name salted roots, we want to honor our past as Brown Girl Surf, share the story of our evolution, and acknowledge those who brought us to the point we are today.

Brown Girl Surf (BGS) was founded in 2011 by award-winning social entrepreneur Farhana Huq, who chose the name to honor the women of Polynesia who were among the first surfers. BGS began as a multifaceted platform with the goal of sharing stories of pioneering women surfers worldwide, inspiring women of color in surfing, and building community through social media and storytelling.  Under Farhana’s leadership through 2015, BGS made waves internationally and locally with its Surfing Possibility short films, and became a globally recognized changemaker, elevating the visibility, voices, and stories of women of color surfers.

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Farhana Huq smiles as she stands in her wetsuit holding an orange surfboard

watch: the possibility of surfing

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In 2014, Brown Girl Surf co-founder Mira Manickam-Shirley introduced a vision for community surf programs at Bay Area beaches, that would break down barriers that prevent girls and women of color from accessing surfing, and welcome participants into a new surf culture that centered their experiences.

In 2014, BGS launched its first community surf programs in Hunters Point, San Francisco, and in 2015 it began its first community programs in Oakland, which would eventually grow into the Soul Surfer Programs of today.  These programs nurtured a locally rooted intergenerational community, connected by shared joyful experiences in the water, that would become a powerful force for change.

In early 2016 Mira became Executive Director and Brown Girl Surf rearticulated its mission to focus on creating a diverse, joyful, and environmentally reverent women and girls surf culture, by increasing access to surfing, cultivating community, amplifying the voices of surfers of color, and taking care of the earth. During Mira’s tenure, Brown Girl Surf grew as an Oakland-based, grassroots community movement for surf inclusion and ocean connection, rooted in the cultural perspectives and experiences of women of color. 

In 2017 and 2018 founding staff members Marlim Reynosa and Maya Yamato joined Brown Girl Surf.  Maya initially joined the team as Interim Executive Director during Mira’s maternity leave, and then stayed on as Director of Operations until 2020, making critical contributions to the growth of programs and development of organizational systems.  In 2018, under Maya’s leadership, Brown Girl Surf began growing its advocacy efforts around equitable beach access and in 2020 launched a successful campaign that ultimately led to the opening up Pacifica State Beach in 2022, and the creation of a statewide Surf Justice Collective, which BGS co-developed.  Since then, BGS has been amplifying the voices of our community in several state and national forums focused on equitable ocean access and the conservation of ocean life. To date, more than 3,000 girls, women, and gender expansive surfers have participated in our programs and community gatherings, and we have expanded our mission to reflect the diversity of our community. 

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After more than a year of workshopping, consulting, and dreaming, we are thrilled to announce a significant milestone in the journey of the grassroots community movement that originated with the launch of our community programs in Oakland in 2015.

With great respect, we are embracing a new phase under the name ‘Salted Roots.’ This new identity provides the space we’ve longed for to encompass the diverse identities we all hold. It’s a space that allows us to cultivate deeper connections with each other and with the ocean.

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Salted Roots will remain a space centered on the experiences, expertise, and emotions of Black, Indigenous, girls, women, and gender-expansive folks of color. Our purpose and mission is to continue cultivating a surf culture rooted in collective power, equity, love, and reverence for the Earth. 

So we thank you, from the depth of every ocean and water connection we each may hold – thank you for guiding us on this voyage to return to ourselves, as Salted Roots.

Salted Roots gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the many staff, volunteers, community members, and supporters who have made this journey possible and brought us where we are today.