Meet The Sea Gals Australiacommunity Health Location: Australia Outdoors Swimming
Posted by Lydia Burdett
In her own words, Tara tells us how a simple sea dip in her hometown of Perth sent ripples up and down the coast of Australia, transforming into a movement of like-minded women known as Sea Gals. Its growing community of sea dippers set out at sunrise for a swim aimed at nurturing mental health through the benefits of immersing oneself in the big blue. Open to women of all shapes, sizes and swimming abilities, there’s a strong emphasis on encouraging its ocean-loving ‘Gals’ to step out of their comfort zone, leaving any self-doubt back on the beach for a much-needed moment of self-care and connecting with nature…
Words by Tara Jeisman, Founder of Sea Gals www.seagalsaustralia.com
I never sat down one day and thought “You know what Perth needs? A women’s sunrise ocean dipping community!”. Sea Gals came from the people. One day in January 2022, I posted a video on my TikTok of me going to the beach alone for my first sunrise dip, and it gained a lot of attention. So many girls were commenting “I want to do that!” Or “That would be so cool to do but I have no one to go with!” So, I just replied to all of them and said I’ll make a group chat on Instagram and we can all go together if you live in Perth! I was so worried I had just invited a whole bunch of strangers to the beach for a sunrise dip - 90 people in fact! Well, only 4 showed up but we posted a TikTok of the morning and then more people saw it and wanted in - so the next dip had 18 people, then 45, then 80, then over 100! And all within a month - crazy times and I’m so grateful.
There was something so beautiful about the first sunrise dip I had by myself - it was the middle of summer on a 40-degree day and my life honestly changed in that moment. The water was so refreshing, it felt like I was on holiday, but I was only 12 minutes from my house. I am so lucky that I get to share this experience with other women. There are some days when the water is infested with seaweed, or the waves are too big or the sand is too cold - but those make awesome bonding experiences. When we get out of the water, we all look at each other and think “Did we just do that?!” - especially in winter.
Throughout the first few dips, I realised why women were coming - because it was so freeing to run into the ocean with other women and not care how you looked. I personally have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), so my skin breaks out all the time, but I don’t feel self-conscious when I run Sea Gals events because I know that no one cares how I look. Women have always been made to feel like they must wear a cute bikini, have a ‘bikini body’ or fit a certain beauty aesthetic when they go to the beach - we break that expectation.
It has been amazing to see the impact the group has had on the individuals who attend. I see women bring their kids, their teenagers, friends, mums, grandmothers and aunties - and when we have Sea Gals and Sea Pals dips, some bring their loved ones of all genders. It’s so lovely to see people engage in a fun activity that is a little challenging alongside their loved ones.
We are also very mental health based, so I make it known that Sea Gals is a place where if you need to talk to someone about what you’re going through - I am all ears. Because I am not a qualified psychologist or counsellor (yet!), I will never give out advice, but I believe in being an ear or sounding board to someone that needs to rant or just someone to listen. I hear the impact that Sea Gals is having on these women, whether that’s challenging themselves to get in the ocean when it’s one of their biggest fears, getting out of bed for the first time that week or wearing a bikini when they’ve always worn a shirt and shorts in the ocean. The biggest outcome I see is confidence and relatability. Being able to relate to women around them through their lived experiences or feeling confident in themselves because there isn’t a fear of being judged by other attendees.
Since starting the Sea Gals, my life has changed. I was never a beach person or a morning person, and now I run something that combines those two things! I have made lifelong friends with the girls in the Sea Gals team - and we never knew each other before. I am so much more confident in my body and my life purpose because I get to be with so many amazing women as the sun rises. You can only have so much energy that early in the morning, and everyone feels comfortable with each other bringing their energy to the space. I have learnt so much and feel so empowered by the women I have met since starting Sea Gals a year and a half ago, along with the businesses we’ve been grateful to collaborate with. Sea Gals is my life and always will be, I have such a passion for what we do and the smiles and conversations that come out of our events.
We are hoping to expand Sea Gals to be known all around Australia as a place, physically and online, where women can come together and be themselves. They know that they can relax in our space and come without judgement, with our meet-ups to open all women, including trans women along with non-binary folk. Perhaps, one day, Sea Gals might even be known around the world!