So it all started with a chat down at my local coffee van. It’s no secret team Sunday Soldiers probably needs a caffeine intervention (“Coffee and Conquer” anyone?), and most mornings you’ll find me down at “Frothin’ Coffee”, a funky orange roadside Kombi Van under the red gum trees, grabbing a quad shot and having a chat to all the local crew and passers through. (Online store at frothincoffee.com.au if you fancy trying my favourite Woodfire roasted boutique coffee beans).
As is often the case down there, and probably at most coastal coffee vans, talk turned to surfing and I was introduced to a new face, Tanesha, who it turned out coordinated the local chapter of “Surfing Mums Australia”. I wasn’t a total stranger to surfing mums, as Elise had gone to a couple of sessions before we found out she was pregnant with our son Lion. Elise had even mentioned that Dad’s were welcome, but I brushed it off thinking being a dad at surfing mums might be a bit awkward, plus I was still working in Law Enforcement (with all the attached machismo, the boys at work would have a field day)
Fast forward a few years. I’d thrown in the old job to dive into Sunday Soldiers and stay at home Dadding. Between entertaining our energetic toddler and working on growing Sunday Soldiers, a lot of great surfing days went begging. Though I’m so privileged and grateful to be able to spend so much time with my boys now, I vividly remember one particular day watching a perfect day at a local reef with Lion with mates running past asking why I wasn’t already out there. There might have even been a single silent tear running down my cheek, haha.
So when Tanesha mentioned that Surfing Mums was dad friendly, and that I should come down to a meet, I was a bit more receptive. Admittedly, I was still a bit apprehensive. Did I really belong in a group called “Surfing Mums”. Were they going to talk to me, or was I going to be the odd one out.
So on a waveless Friday morning, after dropping Chance off at school, Lion and I were introducing ourselves to the Wannanup Surfing mums at one of the local point breaks. Any apprehension quickly passed, as we were met by friendly greetings and good vibes. Lion had a ball playing with the other kids, and I enjoyed a couple of hours of chatting with like minded crew who loved surfing as much as I did (I even managed to keep up in the “Married at First Sight” goss, thanks to passively watching while working nights in front of the TV with Elise). Since then I’ve had a bunch of surfs with the crew (including another dad, I’m not the only one), and I’m loving it. Here’s why.
- These girls bring the stoke. None of these quiet, staunch, staring out to sea surfs. Surfing mums sesh’s are always punctuated with hoots, encouragement and being called into waves. Good vibes!
- Everyone’s in the same boat watching kids, so they don’t take opportunities to surf for granted. I’m surfing days that I’d usually give a miss if I was by myself. With that little bit of peer pressure, I’m out there rolling the shoulders out and having a good time doing it.
- It’s like a playgroup for beach kids. The typical session has half the parents on the beach with the kids, and half the parents in the water, and then after an hour the parents swap. For those couple of hours, the kids run around, explore, build castles and generally have a wild old time with each other. They learn to share their toys and their snacks. They get a tonne of fresh air and they wear themselves out in the sand. And then afterwards they sleep! That’s when dad gets a chance to get some work done.
- It’s fun meeting new people. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good chat, hearing peoples stories and getting a new perspective on things. Surfing Mums has participants from a range of backgrounds, and with a love of surfing in common, the chats come easy. As much as I enjoy my daily (and somewhat repetitive) conversations with a two and five year old, it’s nice to break it up a little with some adult conversation. That said, I’ve heard a couple of Poo Jokes from the Surfing Mums too.
- Best of all, I still get an hour in the water on those days I’m on dad duty. And for the other hour of a Surfing Mums session, I get to run around with the kids in the sand, instead of watching from the sidelines of a playground I’m too big for.
So if you find yourself at home chasing toddlers instead of waves, and your daily conversations tend revolve around Peppa pig or PJ Masks, jump on the Surfing Mums website (surfingmums.com) and find a group near you. Though this all probably sounds a bit like a sponsored ad, it’s not! We’re just that stoked with our Surfing Mums experience, and we love to share the love!