As surfing mums and ambassadors for the surf lifestyle, we take look at how surfing boosts our physical and mental health.
Ever wondered why, as busy mums, we prioritise surfing as such a big part of our lives? Why do we dash from the school gates to the shoreline, check the surf forecast before the kids wake up, and fit our work schedules around the tides? In a nutshell, surfing makes us feel great. It gives us a break from the demands of parenthood, and boosts our fitness and well being. Which, in turn, makes us better mums.
“Being a mum is exhausting at times and it’s often a struggle to prioritise your hobbies,” says Angie Abell, a marine biologist and mum of two. “When I get a chance to surf it reminds me how important it is to get some headspace and take time to do something for me. I am definitely a better mum for it.”
SURFING GIVE US A SENSE OF FREEDOM
It’s no secret that motherhood is a juggling act that takes a gargantuan amount of energy on a daily basis. We’re sleep deprived, up to our eyeballs with chores, trying to maintain careers and relationships. While being peace keepers, carers, cooks and taxi drivers. But as soon as you hit the sea, the parenting load gets rinsed away by the waves, as your senses are overloaded by the sounds, sights and motion of the ocean.
“Surfing makes me feel free!” Says Celine Bennet, co-founder of Family Surf Co. “As mums we are all very busy, and the best way to take some time out without messages, phone calls and jobs to do, is simply to be in the sea on a surfboard.”
SURFING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
It’s not just our passion for the ocean that makes us feel good about being mums who surf. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to prove that being active in the water has a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Blue Health studies show how surfing encourages us to be mindful, triggers a more positive mindset, improves sleep and lowers stress levels. Whether you’re bobbing around in the whitewater, thinking about your pop up, or paddling out as fast as you can to avoid getting the next set of waves on your head, the sensory overload wrenches you from your thought patterns and to-do lists. “Research is increasingly highlighting the ocean as a therapeutic environment, interrupting the momentum of daily life with its dynamic rhythms, sounds, scents and scenes,” clarifies Dr Sarah Bell from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
SURFING GETS YOU FIT
If you’re looking to boost your health and fitness after having kids, there are few sports that whip you back into shape faster than surfing. It’s a vigorous, entire body workout, burning calories at the same rate as a gym session or game of football – all while being low-impact on your joints. It’s also great for cardiovascular fitness and a healthy heart, builds strength and co-ordination, and all while connecting you Mother Nature and giving you a whopping dose of Vitamin Sea.
“Surfing is physically demanding, builds strength and mentally it’s refreshing as it focuses your mind on that one goal of getting to your feet – so all other worries, commitments, responsibilities are forgotten for that time that you’re in the sea,” says Surf Mum Briony Anscombe. “Learning to surf has been a frustrating but hugely rewarding experience. After many wipe outs and near quitting, the sense of total freedom and exhilaration when I finally managed to get on my feet was totally liberating and addictive. It gave me a massive sense of achievement.”
SURFING IS FUN
Aside from the tangible benefits of surfing, for us surf mums it’s also a vehicle to step back from our more serious roles, park our responsibilities on the shore, and simply have fun. In an all-women environment in the waves, as we regress to childlike behaviour, play together and support each other in our surfing journeys – and beyond.
“My life with three young children and a busy job can take its toll and getting back into the sea with other mums and fantastic, supportive coaches has been so therapeutic,” says Psychologist and Surf Mum Sarah Mundy. “I look forward to our sessions and feel completely uplifted afterwards. It’s made me remember that I need to work on my self-care, and it nurtures both my body and mind.”
BEYOND THE SEA
It’s not just in the water that we reap the benefits from surfing. Beyond the ocean, we can transfer the skills we learn when we’re surfing into many areas of our lives as mums: The courage to paddle out. The stamina to keep going when we’re exhausted. The strength to get up again and again after wipeouts. The patience and timing to catch the waves. Ultimately, surfing can benefit our wellbeing and also help us to ride the ups and downs of parenthood.
So next time you spot us at the school gates in our wetsuits, why not come and join us? If you’re hankering for some me-time and self care, consider surfing instead of the gym. We’re running Surf Mums Breaks, Blue Health Breaks and our Surf Mums Club for 2022, and we’d love to sea you there.