ClexaCon Panelist Profile: Susan Surftone from @kleffnotes ( @ClexaCon )

Susan Surftone is a remarkable woman who is never afraid to speak her mind. While she is currently a surf guitarist, singer, and songwriter, she has worked for the FBI and in other intensive work environments. Throughout it all she has never backed down from a challenge and her story is an inspiration for LGBT+ women everywhere. In this ClexaCon profile I’ll share more about Surftone’s life and you can learn more about her at both The Politics of Representation panel, tomorrow from 4-5, and at the Diversity and Inclusion panel on Sunday from 2-3.

Before becoming a surf guitarist, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term this means someone who plays surf music and not someone who plays guitar on a surfboard, Susan Surftone worked as an attorney for the NYPD in connection to the Tactical Narcotics Team in Harlem and she was an FBI agent in New York. As part of her FBI position she was chosen to monitor KGB agents assigned to the UN headquarters. These people were not allowed to travel more than 25 miles outside of New York City and Surftone, whose last name at the time was Yasinski, would run surveillance and even sometimes go undercover to determine what the operatives were up to.

While she enjoyed her work she became concerned about her future at the FBI. For a lesbian promotions were rare and the reigning view of LGBT+ workers at the time was “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which had forced her into the difficult position of skirting the topic of dating or her personal life while at work. This was not ultimately what led to her resignation, but when she did leave the bureau she felt the push to form bands of her own. Susan and the Surftones grew out of this and they have recorded more than 10 albums and became breakout stars in Europe. Over the years Surftone has advocated for girls to play guitar and start their own bands, she continues to be an activists for women’s empowerment and LGTBQ rights.

Don’t forget to check out Susan on her Saturday panel, The Politics of Representation, from 4-5, and on her Sunday panel, Diversity and Inclusion, from 2-3.

You can find out more about ClexaCon on their official website.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog,, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.


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