Amanda Calabrese to Oversee a Girls-Only Surf Camp

“Surfing has allowed me to gain a full respect for the ocean’s power and grandeur,”
“There are watermen, why can’t there be waterwomen?” asks Amanda Calabrese.

Amanda Calabrese, who is soon to add Japan and New Zealand to a growing list of countries in which she has vied in lifesaving and track competitions, will oversee a girls-only surfing camp in Montauk this summer, beginning July 1.

“I was 5 years old when my dad took me surfing in Puerto Rico, and after that we started going out regularly to Ditch Plains, which is where I caught the surfing bug,” Calabrese said in an email that she sent from Stanford University, where she’s in her sophomore year, majoring in product design engineering. Later this month she’ll compete in the International Lifesaving Cup championships on the island of Kyushu before returning here.

“Surfing has allowed me to gain a full respect for the ocean’s power and grandeur,” she wrote. “It’s helped to make me strong and to get my body and mind in tune. . . . Growing up, I always watched the older pro surfer girls like Bethany Hamilton and Quincy Davis, who was a few years above me at East Hampton High School, but as I got older I found there weren’t really that many girls surfing, at least not with the intensity and tenacity that I had. My friends at Stanford joke about me being fairly tenacious in the lineup.” She surfs at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz and at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Calabrese joined the junior lifeguard program here when she was 7, starting at East Hampton Village’s Main Beach and moving to Indian Wells in Amagansett when she was 11. Her father, Eric Bramoff, Tom Mott, Rob Lambert, and Chris Chapin have been among her coaches. She has swum with the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter’s youth swim team, the Hurricanes, but the main reason she joined the Hurricanes, she has said, was so that she could become a better lifeguard. She passed the town’s ocean lifeguard test when she was 16, and has won medals in various lifeguarding events, including beach flags, paddleboarding, distance runs, distance swims, and sprint relays.  

“I’d like to pass on to younger girls the feeling of joy that I’ve always loved about being in the water. The ocean really can be transformative. I’ve seen the same mind-body connection I’ve experienced duplicated in children with disabilities who have been taught surfing as part of Helene Fallon’s Long Island Communities of Practice program. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to work with her since entering Stanford in the fall of 2015.”

As for her venture, “We’re looking for stoked young women aged 8 to 14 who are eager to feel strong and inspired through beach training, surfing, and yoga. We’ll also have waterwomen as guest speakers. . . . All of my workouts, the surfing, the yoga, the beach games, will be designed to create waterwomen. There are watermen, why can’t there be waterwomen? We want these girls to become the best version of themselves.” 

George Wilson and Charlie Weimar’s Montauk Boardriders business is handling the registrations online, she said, and will supply boards, wetsuits, and food.

“There is no deadline for signing up,” said Calabrese, who is in her fifth year with the town’s lifeguard program, “but it’s filling up quickly.”

“As a young girl, being confident in the ocean and participating in the action sports it has spawned was what empowered me. If I can pass that confidence along to just one girl this summer, my dream for this camp will be realized.”