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!

How to dry your wetsuit

It only seems a few days ago that I posted about how to protect you’re wetsuit. Time flies when you’re having fun!  And here I am again about to fill you in on how to dry your wetsuit easily and fuss free!

As you know my main sport is wakeboarding, but I had a weekend surf trip at the coast planned and so I thought I’d put my Elite Dry Bag to the test while I was there.  (The Elite Dry Bag has mesh on one side so more air can get in/out, you wouldn’t want it out in the rain!).

How in the world my husband and I lucked out on that particular weekend, I’ll never know, but we did.  First of all, thanks to my folks, we had a child free weekend.  CHILD FREE WEEKEND!!!  Thats two nights, not one, but TWO!  Ok so this was a huge deal as we haven’t had this luxury since baby number two came along.  And he’s nearly three years old.  Enough said.

Second of all, I booked a four star hotel that ended up having breakfast and a two course dinner in the grand restaurant included.  As well as full use of the spa.  To top it off we had a sea view room and a balcony overlooking the waves.

Thirdly.  The weather played ball.  A rare occurrence here in the UK, but it did.  It was baltic but it was bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky for the two days and we even tanned in the balcony’s sun trap while enjoying a cream tea (room service of course).

Fourthly – I know, last one I promise.  The waves.  The wave gods were with us 100% and we had great waves for the two days.  We seriously couldn’t believe it, and even the tides were right.  It was freezing so there weren’t many surfers out either so we had pretty empty waves as well which was great.

Thank you stars, sun and moon for aligning for this epic weekend.

Anyway, back to the wetsuit drying test.  So as we were staying in a pretty nice hotel, we didn’t want to walk through with sandy wet wetsuits.  I threw them in the Elite Dry Bag and carried them through the swanky place without even leaving a grain of sand on the expensive carpets.

So with the estimated wetsuit drip drying time of between 4-6 hours (geek I know), I knew my suit would be ready to wear the following morning, and I could hang it anywhere in the room and not worry about it dripping on the carpet.  But to give it that extra something something, I hung it above the radiator to make it nice and warm for me… it was needed, we were scraping ice off the car to get to the surf.

So all in all, my little Dry Bag test went pretty well!  I took a second wetsuit as I didn’t want to put on a wet one the second day, but I didn’t even take it out the travel bag.  The Dry Bag works well and is very handy while on the road.  I’ll be using at home as well so I don’t have to hang my suit in the shower all the time.  Win.

 

How to store your wetsuit easily

Winter riding is haaaaard in the UK, and in many other cold places.  Sorry, not sorry, but I don’t feel bad for anyone who has to succumb to a 3.2mm wetsuit to get on the water because it cools down to 16c or something.  Try passing the handle in 5.4mm of rubber with cold muscles.  Not easy.

However, I do ride throughout the winter on our little grey covered island.  If I didn’t man up and ride, it would be six months off the water for sure.  And to top it off, I don’t even like the cold.  I hate it in-fact, (unless its in the mountains).  Along with wind and rain.  I can deal by wearing good clothing, base layers and of course, great wetsuits.

As well as riding/coaching at my local lakes, I tend to ride at a few different cable parks to keep it interesting, just as you would surf at different surf spots or snowboard on different runs/resorts.  Obviously with this, comes some road time.  I recently got my paws on a couple of Dry Bags (the Pro and the Elite). What are these I hear you ask?  They are specifically designed bags to store your wetsuit in so they can dry.  They work by hanging your wetsuit in half over a huge hanger (so you don’t stretch out the shoulders), allowing your wetsuit to drip dry.  When I heard about these bags, I was immediately on board.  So now, when I’m leaving a lake in my car, instead of putting my wetsuit in a giant plastic bag that has seen better days, I hang it in my new Dry Bag, and attached it to one of the handles in the back seat.  This means my wettie starts drying before I even get home and its such an easy way to store my wetsuit in the car without getting it even dirtier than it already is!  Genius.

They come in pretty handy over the winter for storing your wetsuit (or wetsuits, these bad boys can hold two suits at a time) as well.  Like if you hang it up in the garage, you could protect it from dust, dirt and spiders (yes, that is defo a legit reason for zipping you wettie away!  Who wants to put their hand in a wetsuit leg to turn it round the right way and grab a tarantula?  No one.).  Its ventilated as well so it won’t be festering or growing a colony.

Or if you love your wetsuit and don’t have a shed or a garage, and you store it indoors (the Dry Bag Elite is better for this), this will separate it from your towels, clothes etc so you don’t get that lovable wetsuit smell rubbing off on them.

The other thing I’m pretty excited about is when I’m staying over night somewhere, whether it be in a hotel or camping, I can hang my wetsuit in my car over night and know its stored away and drying ready for the next day! How many times have you had to put on wet wetsuit the second or third day because you couldn’t dry it over night…. too many.  Actually, I usually take a second wetsuit.  But if you don’t have the monies for a second wettie, the Dry Bag is a cheaper option so you don’t have to put on a wet wettie the next day.

So I might see you at the lake over these freezing months, but I might not be recognisable under 1000’s of mm of neoprene!

What wetsuit drying / travel issues or hacks do you have?  Get in touch!