Her passion for the waves drew her to surf coaching through which she could spend time in her newfound sanctuary of the ocean and get paid for it. But in England, unlike here in Australia, surf coaching isn’t a full time position, let alone a year-round profession. Keen to help other underprivileged kids and help them through her own success story, Jessica also ventured into youth work and it wasn’t very long before the connections were made and her two jobs united.
Teenage girls are often the hardest to reach – many of them have been through a lot
“When I was coaching surfing and in the youth working, the girls often orientated themselves around me and it felt like there needed to be a space for the two to work together. Teenage girls are often the hardest to reach – many of them have been through a lot. I put in a proposal, local organisations loved the idea and together we put in a funding bid.”
This was the birth of Sirens Surf, a place where the troubles of terra firma can be left behind, all pretense and judgement washed away by the ocean’s waves to create a family and support network back on dry land for those struggling to find their place or make their mark on the world.
But with such a short-lived Summer season in the UK, it was challenging for Jessica establish the charity. What she needed was somewhere that offered year-round waves and weather to allow Sirens Surf to flourish – So Jessica headed to Byron Bay.
“It’s hard in England,” says Jessica. “It’s cold, it’s a short summer and so on. In Byron it’s so much easier for the girls to just get in the ocean. I think people over here are just a lot more open to the idea of it.”
‘Empowering and inspiring women and girls through the ocean and each other,’ Sirens Surf is the caring family some may never have known.
“Having everyone linked in a network is so important. So even if Sirens isn’t there, they may have met another girl and they can go surfing together or make friends, catch up. It works online as well, so they can connect, share words of inspiration and never have to feel alone.”
It is often the hardest times in our life that make us who we are. For Jessica Cox, those times were incredibly hard, but who she has become is beyond her former self’s wildest dreams – and an inspiration to us all.
Join Sirens Surf’s Facebook page HERE to follow what the group are up to…
Words by Thomas Leitch, Images Ming Nomchong