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 protect your wetsuit

Hey all you fellow wetsuit lovers!  Its blog time!  So in my last blog I filled you in on about how to store your wetsuit, now I’m going to give you some helpful hints on how to protect your wetsuit!

You know the drill, you’ve used your wetsuit either at the lake or at the beach and you’re hanging around for a cold beverage (beer).  And some snacks.  And to catch up with your mates.  What do you do with your wetsuit?  I usually drape mine across a railing, a bush, rock, bench, car, just about anything but the floor.  And usually in prime position of the sun (if there is any) so that it dries quicker.

We all know that the sun damages our skin (sniff sniff, wear sunscreen.  All the time.), but if you ever read the care labels (usually printed on the inside of your wetsuit, so its idiot proof), it will say a whole list of things to avoid, and one being drying in the sun.  Why?  Because like the sun damages our skin, it damages our neoprene.  And neoprene ain’t cheap, and if it is, its usually not worth wearing.

What is the answer I hear you ask.. well, a Dry Bag of course!  Hang your baby (your wetsuit, I mean, not your actual baby, although one of my kids is bound to try and climb in at some point), and it’ll be three times more protected from the rays than if it were just thrown over a bench, therefore it’ll last longer. Cha-Chiiing.

If we have been blessed with sun, then you can hang your wettie up in a Dry Bag in full sunlight, knowing its not going to be damaged, and it’ll dry quicker because of the suns warmth.  Bonus is that it won’t have that crusty feel to it that can scratch over your skin.  Ahhhh soft neoprene…

Also, instead of throwing your wetsuit over a bush (I know this sounds weird but there is usually some sort of shrubbery in sand dunes that keep my suit off the sand), or an old wooden splintery bench, protect your precious cargo in a Dry Bag so that it doesn’t snag.  Same goes for when you travel… no, I’ve definitely never shut part of my wetsuit in the car door before… no way.  Not me.

All in all, if you love your wetsuit, show it some love by treating it to a Dry Bag and give it some protection.

What are your wetsuit hacks?  Get in touch!

 

Whats Social Media got to do with it?

As I sit hear listening to the baby monitor going off signalling its the end of nap time and my (laptop) work comes to an close for another day, I look at my saved ‘Posts’ box on my blog.  There are so many started yet unfinished blog posts from the past year or two.  Wondering why I never posted them, I read some.  Maybe I feel they might not be taken well, perhaps I feel I’m being too honest or sweary, or some I feel that are great memories to me but might bore others.  Why would others care to see a another photo of me: at a lake, at the beach, in a yoga pose, in a gym, in a winter wetsuit, in a bikini… cue the athletic gear lifestyle shot.

But I’ve just remembered that this is the age we live in now.  Its not the same as 10 years ago, or five years ago, or even last year.  I have never relied so much on my phone for work, information, contact, camera or goggling.  Everything is done via an app, I even use pinterest to get new outfit ideas instead of buying a magazine to see whats on-trend.  Apart from the September and March Issues of Vogue.  Obvs.  I like to think that I sit quietly and read it while drinking my vanilla latte in Starbucks.  I never do.

I got to thinking about how social media has changed our lives.  You never switch off because you can access all your work just on your phone.  Where does the work stop and the time off start?  Cue the I’m working in my on-trend office space shot.

After noticing that I spent a ridiculous amount of time on my phone a couple of years ago, I try to leave it until certain times.  Times when it doesn’t affect others, like during nap time.  I try not to ‘play’ (AKA Social Media, but Soc Media is actually part of my work so I shouldn’t call it ‘playing’) on my phone in front of the kids.  Obviously work calls come in and some need to be dealt with immediately, but have you tried to be on a work call with a one and three year old fighting for your attention?

What has social media done for me?  Its allowed me to make quite a smooth transition from being a Pro Wakeboarder into being a Wake Ambassador. Cue the wake lifestyle shot.

After popping out a couple of kids and having all the pregnancy and recovery time off from riding, the wake standard has naturally evolved (to a ridiculous level I might add) and without having the same amount of time to dedicate to riding that I used to, I have not progressed how I’d imagined it to.  I still have fun though.  Cue the riding shot.

Photo: Toby Oliver

Social Media has given me the platform to promote myself and my sponsors.  

How do you do this I hear you ask!  Well first, you must have your own Soc Media channels.  Over time you start to build up your following.  Do this by picking the theme, brand or image you want to portray to people.  I cleaned up my Soc Media outlets about a year ago when I finally realised that mixed photos of my kids, selfies and wakeboarding weren’t really doing it.  Then over time as you get more established, brands, companies or agencies approach you for various things whether its shooting product for them, doing a blog or instagram post, or becoming a Brand Ambassador.  And sometimes it works the other way, if you love a brand you might want to contact them for a collaboration.

There are so many blurred lines now with jobs when it comes to Social Media. People ask me what I do.. I find it hard to give them an answer most of the time.  I do so many different things: I’m full time Mum (to two boys, absolute effing nutters), I’m a Housewife, I’m in Property Management, I’m a Wakeboard Coach, I’m a Wake Ambassador and I work on my Social Media, Blogging and Instagramming.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that Social Media has helped me develop and still developing where I’m trying to get to.  I have an image or a goal in my mind where I want to be and without Social Media, it would never happen.

And why on earth did I write this blog?  I guess because I’m at a point where I can get back into blogging more regularly again and I didn’t know where to start.  Like I said before, I have so many unfinished or unpublished posts, this one is to blow off the cobwebs. Enjoy xx