13 Mar Surfing Moms: Raising Children While Following Your Passion For Surfing
Worried that being a surfing mom you can’t combine raising your child with your passion?
Having children might seem like the surfing days are over.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Of course, lockdown and lack of childcare options have not helped the situation this year, but there are many ways to keep getting your surf fix even with little groms in tow. We share some of the wise advice, do’s, and don’ts from experienced surfing moms across the world.
Spark their interest
Surfing moms can tickle their kid’s natural curiosity in many ways. Whether it’s watching others or mum and dad from the beach, read a surf book, or watch a surf video. One surfing mom even wrote a book on surfing with kids (after only finding ones with dads). Go check out ‘Waves of Love: Surfing with Mommy” by Jenny Woudenberg
Waves of Love by surfing mom Jenny Woudenberg
Practice skills on dry land.
There are many ways to practice children’s balance and strength on dry land. Surfing moms can drag their kids around, standing on a bodyboard, or let them slide down the hill on a little snowboard or skateboard. Getting them familiar with the feeling of gliding and balancing will be beneficial once they join their surfing mom for real waves.
Find a local ‘Surfing Moms’ group.
More and more women surf, therefore more and more moms are looking for ways to keep surfing, even before they can take their children into the ocean with them. Many coastal areas now have ‘surfing moms’ groups. Moms will meet up on the beach with their kids and take turns surfing, while the others look after the children. Not only is this the perfect way to keep surfing, but you also get to meet like-minded women and your children will have playmates for many surf sessions to come. Maybe they even find their very own surf buddies once they are old enough to hit the water.
Keep it fun.
Get them used to water when they are babies, teach them to swim as young as possible (also for your own peace of mind), and always keep it fun. If they are cold or scared, accept this and offer comfort. Invite their friends to come to the beach and they will automatically push their own boundaries without parental pressure.
Keep it safe.
All moms can get worried about their groms at the best of times, even on dry land.
So remember to keep it safe, for them and for your sanity. Choose your surf spot right, think of them before yourself.
Are they still little or not the strongest swimmers? Does it get deep quickly in that particular spot? Put them into a life vest or buoyancy aid to keep them safe.
It might give them a little extra confidence and help them if they are nervous in the water.
They might not take to surfing from the start, so why not try bodyboarding, tandem surfing or let them piggyback while you catch some mellow peelers. Big soft tops are a great start, but there are many high-volume shorter foamies around nowadays which will have them progress in no time. They will be showing you how it’s done soon.
2 X Woman World Longboard Champion surfer Daize Shayne Goodwin go for a very safe surfboard ride in tiny surf in Waikiki.
Don’t put too much pressure on them.
Give them time to start loving the ocean, they might not share the stoke right away, or maybe never and you have to be ready to accept that too. They have their own little personalities and putting pressure to learn to surf or even to love the water, might have the opposite effect.
Consider using an instructor or surf school.
Talking about parental pressure. A common story heard between surfing moms is that children learn better from others. Give them (and yourself) a break from the parenting and get someone else to teach them for a few sessions.
They can join a club with their friends and will be surfing better than you before you know it. Depending on your surf level and their age, you might even want to consider taking lessons together, which could make for funny stories and beautiful memories to talk about for years.
Surfing with kids can teach us many other things.
Many surfing moms speak of how sharing their passion with their children has opened their eyes and heart in new ways. Another level of stoke, pushing you to a higher level, showing you to persevere and not give up just like them, maybe even taking you out of your own comfort zone. One mom explained that when she talks about tough life moments, she uses surfing tough conditions as an example of how to overcome these struggles, surfing can truly teach us more than riding waves alone.
When they grow up…
You know you’d rather see your teenagers in the line-up than roaming the streets somewhere. While you can leave the nagging on dry land, you might even become the coolest parent in the eyes of their mates but remember to give them their space with their friends. Go surf at a ‘safe distance’, so they don’t feel like you are checking on them or overhearing their conversations. In the words of a surf mom “The teenagers think it’s great you’re out there, but they don’t actually want to surf with you.” Once they are all grown up, think about how cool it would be to catch up with each other out in the ocean. They might even help you in and out of your wetsuit and gloves when it’s getting a little trickier.