February 17 - 23, 2013: Issue 98


Surfing Mums Inc.

Website at: www.surfingmums.com 

There’s nothing better then getting out in the fresh salt air and into saltwater, it’s healing, relaxing and one of the best things you can do for yourself. A little while ago we discovered an association that began in Byron Bay in 2007 when two mums who surf, Vanessa and Julia took turns to watch two children on the beach while the other had a 30 minute surf. In 2008 Surfing Mums Inc was formed and since then is spreading right around our coastlines. Being a mum is a 24/7 joy but it’s also hard work. Getting to be the you you were prior to becoming mum is rejuvenating, and that has a great flow on in being a mum. Getting to talk to others who share your interests is the exhale we all need.

A Dee Why group, coordinated by Kirsty Renike, who helped with this week’s Profile by sharing a few insights on her group and her own surfing, is part of this fantastic idea that helps mums who love to get in the water do so. 

The best news is one is beginning in Pittwater and it is expected more will roll out across our area as groups form.

Who are Surfing Mums?

Surfing Mums Inc aims to unite mothers all over the world in our passion for surfing. We are a network of women who are mums (of course) that also love to surf and still want to get out on the water as often as we did prior to having kids. Its not about how well you surf, or whether you are a longboarder, shortboarder, kneeboarder, bodyboarder, body surfer or just learning to surf - it's about getting wet and having fun! Our network encourages you to build great relationships with like-minded mums and their families who will join you on the beach when the surf is pumping, or simply make friends with other mums and go for surfs without the kids! Now you don’t have to be the only mum in your mother's group observing the wind to see which direction it's blowing, or trying to explain to the other mums why going down to the beach would be a better idea than sitting around a cafe!

Who are Surfing Mums Incorporated?

Surfing Mums Incorporated is a not-for-profit association that supports a network of mums that surf and who meet at the beach to alternate childcare duties enabling mums to enjoy some time in the surf. Our groups are situated wherever mothers surf and involve mothers of varying surfing abilities and different surf crafts (longboards, shortboards, bodyboards, kneeboards, stand up paddle boards bodysurfing etc), and mothers of children of different ages (from 1 day old to 18 years and beyond). We also encourage fathers and other carers to join our group.

Why do we need Surfing Mums Inc?

Not only the dream but the need to surf is like needing the air we breath or the water we drink. As a surfer before children, we were only limited by our work, or by other commitments, but there was always some time during the day when you could make it down to the surf. Then we had children and suddenly we had a 24 hour 7 day a week commitment, children didn’t give us time off for an early or late surf, they sure didn’t care when the surf was good and we would have been happy with just a 20 minute paddle.

Anyone can become a Surfing Mums member, stay at home dads also. Surfing mums is here to help mums and dads get out in the surf and in turn relay the children between each other with safety as the main concern. Membership is $50 for the year which covers public liability insurance, flags for the groups, first aid kits and membership packs. The Dee Why group started in November last year. We meet every Friday at 9am in front of the surf club at Dee Why. We swap surfing with looking after one other mum’s children on the beach. All the children wear little fluoro tops so they stand out.  They always have a great time playing on the beach together and are all become good little friends. The mums go out for dinner once a month (with out kids) and are going away up the coast in March
What are the best things about surfing that help you enjoy being a mum more?

It’s rare to get time to yourself once you have children so having the opportunity to do something for yourself is quite amazing. Even if it just a quick 20 mins paddle you come out of the water feeling recharged and energized and I think the way you are feeling really rubs off on your children, happy mum happy child. Maintaining a healthy level of fitness is also really important as a mum.
What is your favourite break?

Long Reef.
What does getting in the water together as 'surfing mums' mean?

It doesn’t matter how well you surf it’s about getting out there and having fun. You build great relationships with like minded mums. Everyone is really encouraging and supportive of each other. The minute we get in the water everyone has the biggest grin on their face, its great sharing an awesome time with the other mums. I love seeing how happy surfing makes everyone, it’s like they leave the beach a new person and its great knowing you helped make their day better by looking after their child so they could go for a surf. All the children have heaps of fun playing on the sand so it keeps them happy too!
How long have you been surfing?

On and off for about 12 years.
Tell us about your best surfing experiences:

To be honest anytime I get the chance to get in the water. It’s not like I can go whenever I feel like it so I think I really appreciate any opportunity I get.
Surfing mums is beginning a Pittwater Group, please tell us about where/when:

Hopefully on a Wednesday either at Avalon or Whale Beach. We have a monthly meet on the first Sunday of every month. All our partners come along and we have a BBQ in the park after. Our next Sunday meet is on 3rd of March and it will be a Whale Beach.

How it works

The different groups meet once a week, fortnightly or once a month, and this is just a time to catch up on surfing news and share stories of your month. If the surf is good, then they get some waves in too while the kids play with their new little friends on the beach. This is also a time to meet other mums and set up your own regular surf dates if you like.

Mums often ask "How will I know if my child is safe while I am in the water?". The only way to do this is to form the relationships with the other mums before you start 'beach sitting'. Meet up a few times on the beach before you leave your child with your new surfing mum friend, then maybe start with a few short sessions, as your confidence builds you'll soon be surfing for up to an hour before its your turn to swap and let the other mum go out for a surf. It is however ultimately your responsibility to ensure the safety of yourself and your child. We are only coordinators of this activity and all participation is voluntary.

Need some more information? Check out our FAQs or feel free to contact us with your questions.

Dee Why Surfing Mums. 

 Photos by Kirsty Renike, 2013.