How to surf after having kids | Top 10 Tips

Hey there!  I recently, or not so recently, wrote a blog to answer one of my lovely instagram followers questions on how to fit in wakeboarding and surfing after having kids… well I managed to write, edit, add photos and publish the wakeboarding one.  So now I’m just getting around to the surf one.

I don’t live by the coast, any coast, in fact, I’m probably the most land locked you could possibly get in England.  So we have to travel in the UK or abroad to get waves.  And no more surf day trips to the coast.  They will be shelved until the kids can surf.  (sob sob).

Surfing has changed, possibly for the better actually (I’m already in denial). Before kids we would surf at dawn if there was surf, eat, tan, surf, then do it all again all day, every day for the entire surf trip.  It was total shit.  (It was awesome.)

Then we tried to do the same thing with a baby.  Which is totally possible.  (It’s just not possible.)  A baby, or a small child (or multiple), is just not going to allow you to hang/bake on a beach all day long.  We’ve had to modify our holidays quite a bit, but they do work for us at the moment, we’re just on the cusp of having to do more kid focussed trips.  The main one being that we can’t really go somewhere in Europe for the waves in winter, no one wants to sit on a cold windy, rainy beach with small children.  And its not fair to ask anyone to go on a surf holiday and stay in the accommodation all day with nothing but internet and a DVD player to entertain them.  So we’re missing out on winter swell, which sucks.  See summer waves in the photo below…. it just ain’t the same.  Enough said.

Surf trips go like this: if the waves are cookin’, one will surf a dawnie one morning while the other parent gets the kids up and fed and makes the lunches for the day, we take it in turns each day to do this.  Then it’s off to the beach so that the other parent can surf.  We play with the kids, take them surfing, have lunch on the beach and then break the day up with some sightseeing, food shop, movie (we take kids DVD’s everywhere, family favs are Surfs Up, Happy Feet and Moana).  Then we’ll head back to the beach for a second surf while one is on the beach playing with the kids, beach walk, ice cream, rock pooling, sea glass hunting…  and then one will surf while the other parent takes the kids home for dinner and a bath, or get them ready to go out for dinner.  We try to stay where we can surf within walking distance of the accommodation as we do rent a car, but the one surfing needs to be able to walk home.  So it’s quite a juggling act, but its good for now.

And as you can imagine, theres loads of quality time with your partner.  (There is no quality time with your partner while on holiday with your kids.)  Actually we’ve started going away with my folks just so that we can have a date night on holiday.  (Love you guys xx)

The reason I say its better? (Its not better, but every cloud…)  Well my surfing was improving quite nicely, but it took a dip after baby number two, (the second was harder to ‘bounce back’ from).  I recently, (as in February) surfed with my husband on a golden weekend away in England, and surfing on my own has changed my surfing.  My husband taught me how to surf (I know, he did well as teaching your other half anything is just disastrous, actually I’m pretty impressed we’re still together, hun remember that time I got concussed by my NSP board and you couldn’t stop laughing?) and I’d only ever surf well with him around.

But surfing on my own for the past six years has taught me how to work my way into the line up and, if need be, hassle for waves on my own rather than him helping me.  And when we surfed together recently, all this newfound confidence went out the window and I just followed him around like a sick puppy!  So I think our setup is pretty sweet for now, and it also means we get some time to ourselves on holiday, when we’re all together 24/7.

Tips for a family surf trip: 

  1. Stay somewhere that you can surf within walking distance of your accommodation.
  2. Watch the wave / weather forecast before you go so you can travel as lightly as possible.  Clothes wise and wetsuit / surfboard wise.  With kids and car seats you don’t want to be taking four surfboards and a million suitcases.
  3. Get in the water.  If its your turn to surf, just go… do not watch the waves for ages (if you know the break that is, otherwise obvs watch it.  Safety first!)  Just run in and spend your hour having fun and taking off on anything.  Big or small.
  4. Teach the kids.  They may not want to surf in the future and thats cool, but while I’m paying for their holidays, they will conform.  (Jokes) Luckily my kids actually beg us to take them surfing and get pissed if they have to wait for one of us to come back in.
  5. Do not attempt to take multiple young children surfing on your own.  One parent to one child ratio.
  6. Appreciate it for what it is.  At this point in time, we cannot go in search of the best, cleanest, warmest waves when the tides are just right (these days will come in time – kids get better so we can go on a Mentawai boat trip. (Thank you please).  You need to just be happy that you are out there.
  7. Surf photos.  Don’t even bother.   You have two little humans to look after on a busy beach with a lot of water.
  8. If you want to get the kids in the water for longer than five minutes and actually enjoy learning to surf, then get them full wetsuits.
  9. Keep fit & flexible.  I train all year round and do yoga every day (I know, total brag alert) but my husband goes into serious training mode when he knows we’ve got a surf trip coming.  He has a training folder with notes and shedules and everything from three months out.  Reason being is that you can get the most from your surf because you’re not surfing as much anymore.
  10. Just go.  Think of all the positives you’ll get from the a holiday with your family and enjoy.  Cheers.

What are your tips from going on a family surf trip?  I love learning new holiday hacks!

Uneasy Rider

I am 31 weeks preggers now (YEEEESSSS only 9 weeks left / Ooohh shizer only 9 weeks left).  Alas it has not been an easy ride this time, completely different to Ethan.  The first time around I was wakeboarding up until 5 months pregnant (until I couldn’t fit in my wetsuit anymore), I was doing yoga and I was walking an hour a day up until he was born.

Oh how different things are this time..

This time I managed to do buggy bootcamp until I hit the eight week mark I think – which made me feel absolutely pathetic.  But I was so tired and had bad nausea that exercising was the last thing I felt like doing – the last bootcamp I did I started to get tunnel vision so I knew it was time to stop.

I only rode a couple of times as well, once at Club Wake because it would have looked odd if I didn’t ride and I was still in the awkward early stages where you can’t really tell people.  And I rode in Ropes and Wires at BEP (anyone who saw me that day can vouch that I was rough as anything, I said I was ill but it was in fact, morning sickness!)

Once the morning sickness had subsided and I was over my cold as well as the two stomach bugs, along with the dawn of a new year, I got my act together and started swimming and doing some baby yoga.  I was feeling good but a couple of weeks in I caught another cold… and then another one.  I know colds are not that bad, but let me tell you, they suck while being pregnant and running around after a two year old.

I was lucky enough to go to Florida where I had a fabulously relaxing time and upon my return found out I’ve got low iron levels, which explains the extreme tiredness and shortness of breath (sooooo fun).  I started the iron tablets as prescribed and my body rejected them which may as well have been another stomach bug.  Testing out another kind as we speak. 

So now I’ve reached the final stretch, not long to go!  I can’t tell you how much I’m dying to get on the water, or lift a kettle bell, or wake surf, do circuits, yoga, walk more than 50 yards without back pain, ANYTHING… I just want to move my body!  I can’t wait until I don’t have to take a break and sit down while making a cuppa tea!  And I can’t wait to get my pre baby body back! 

I know its all worth it in the end and I really can’t wait to meet this little human I’m growing, but its not been an easy ride.  Its really really hard work making a baby!  

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Airport security with a baby / toddler

IMG_7397I’ve just returned from the Sunshine state that is Florida and I’m stoked to be home! Descending through the blanket of grey clouds to and even greyer looking Heathrow, then hopping in a taxi which led us round the grey boundary of the airport to the car, to then sit on the M25 and M1 and look at more, well, grey.  I tell ya, I just can’t get enough of England!  

This was our sixth trip abroad with the littlun and how about going through that airport security with a baby / toddler?  Its not easy, even when you think you’ve got it down to a fine art.  AKA, food in one clear bag, milk / water in another clear bag, calpol nappy cream in another and so on, and all handy ready to pull out and shove into a grey tray as you take off your belt, your watch, your shoes, pashmina – while getting your laptop out and trying not to lose your passport that seems to always be in your hand at this point. Oh and then theres trying to contain the toddler while folding up the buggy to get that on the conveyor-belt as well. 

The UK is completely different it seems to the other places I’ve travelled to with Ethan, (Spain, Portugal and the States).  At Heathrow it took us 30mins to get through security from start to finish as our bag of baby stuff was in a queue as one person was checking through nearly every bag that crossed their path, including swabbing them inside and out.  Painful to watch.  They check all the milk/food etc in a machine as well as make you taste it yourself, they look at the ml of the calpol (please don’t take this off meeeeeee!) and toss away the nappy cream as its over the 100ml limit – because all I want is a baby with nappy rash on a 10hr flight, another £3 in Boots on more cream once through.  It was a tedious experience to say the least. 

However, when flying from Europe, you get to go through as a priority due to the child so its a little less rushed.  You don’t have to strip off all your clothing and they don’t give a toss about milk / water testing.  They’ve allowed me through with a 2litre bottle of water before!

Funnily enough, the States were similar.  Yes we had to strip but we forgot to take sunscreen, water bottles and the over 100ml nappy cream out of the hand luggage and it went through unnoticed.   

Aaaaanyway – Tips for surviving UK security: 

1. Be organised

2. Buy clear bags and separate all your baby stuff

3. Milk in one, calpol / sudocrem in another

4. Food / fruit pouches in another

5. Get all that out along with lap top etc and put in grey tray

6. Strip yourself of all your valuables – watch, iPhone, belt, shoes and put in grey tray

7. Keep baby / toddler in buggy until last minute, then take out, try and get them to stand still while you fold up buggy and put on conveyor-belt

8. Pray the security people are friendly as child has run through without you and hope you set off the alarm as you run after them

9. Get buggy, get child in buggy if you can, dress yourself

10. Wait patiently as they test everything you brought with you to feed your baby / toddler.