Are you in the stunning south west corner and crave that grounding escape that surfing brings? Do you feel a little limited with kids in tow? This unique local group supports parents in finding their freedom in the water and return to the surfing lifestyle after having kids.
Dunsborough Surfing Mums bridges the gap between the often hectic Parenthood World and the chase of that peaceful, ocean-bobbing salty goodness by creating a social support system and network for our community. Mums and Dads are both welcome and the surf spots stretch from Yallingup to Gracetown.
The purpose of this amazing, close-knit group is to get back into the water after kids, through weekly surf catch ups and a ‘surf swap system’ to take care of your little ones. It’s an extremely nurturing and understanding group, especially for new Mums, where the love of the ocean is the common thread. The youngest brought along to Dunsborough Surfing Mums was 6 weeks old!
What is truly beautiful is that this group wholeheartedly support each other – in and out of the water. While the joy is in returning to the waves, ocean and blissful time alone, the group bond and resonate with each other at such a deep level that it’s a second family. In such a remote community where often the traditional family infrastructure may be absent, this connection helps provide aid and relief if you have young ones or are new to the area.
The presence and strength that I witnessed between each of these Mums, to pursue what they love and also understand what one another was going through, creates a unique support framework and long lasting friendships. Ocean and Parenthood Camaraderie.
Dunsborough Mum and talented professional rider Rio Clark manages the group locally. Rio has surfed the World Series multiple times and remains renown as W.A.’s big wave bodyboarder. This beautiful, welcoming and soulful woman assists everyone to ‘get out there’ and pursue their surf time. Rio is extremely passionate about getting more women on the waves and continues competing with her beautiful 3 year old son in tow.
I love that Dunsborough Surfing Mums are so encouraging and open hearted – the ladies admitted that they are more than happy to share the ‘babysitting’ role, to simply get in the water and paddle out into the lull of the ocean’s serenity.
Regular Surfing Mum Shae Sheridan admits it can be hard to juggle naps and feeds with her 8 month old son but she loves hanging out with other people who “get it”, and really appreciates that quick 30 minutes in the water.
“It can totally get you mentally and physically through a whole week!” she said, glowing with post-surf euphoria. Shae has just returned to State Longboard Competitions and will be competing in Denmark at the end of the month.
It can be an emotional time leaving your baby to ‘chase waves’ however there’s confidence in knowing your little love is in safe hands while you enjoy some of the best waves the state has on offer right here in your own backyard.
Another Surfing Mum has just had a second bub and sees the incredible value of the network for the kids too. “It offers a great opportunity for them to socialise with different age groups, learning to nurture and look after the little ones while also striving and looking up to the older ones, pushing their boundaries and extending themselves physically and socially.”
Surfing Mums Australia started in 2008 by two Mums who thought that a ‘surf swap system’ would benefit both Mums and Dads across the country by opening up their ability to get back in the water after kids.
Surfing Mums is a non profit organisation based in Byron Bay and has support groups scattered all over the country stretching from the Sunshine Coast, to Phillip Island and all the way over to multiple venues here in Western Australia.
The Dunsborough crew usually surf at Yallingup or Gracetown with surf experience ranging from beginner through to experienced level.
There are no egos here, only the love of being in the water and that essential time out for self.
How does it work? After joining the local Facebook group, a weekly rendezvous is arranged with a wide window of opportunity for parents to meet up, take turns at minding the kids as they play on the playground or on the grass while you head out to catch a wave and salty solace.
Across Western Australia, Surfing Mums has also been set up in Albany, Geraldton, Perth, Secret Harbour and Wannanup. Head over to Surfing Mums Australia’s website for more details.
If you live locally and this lights you up, go to Dunsborough Surfing Mums on Facebook to join in for the surfing, banter and support each week.
And, if you’re really desperate to get in the water, fur babies are socially acceptable too.
Top Feature Photo by Kim Feast.