Meet Carla Wilson, President of Surfing Mums Inc., mum of three, and lover of the surf. We caught up with her recently to find out more about the Surfing Mums community.
Why do you believe that a group like Surfing Mums is important?
Surfing Mums provides a community and network for mums around a common interest; enabling them to get active, outdoors, and have fun without having to arrange alternative childcare.
Motherhood is can be demanding and exhausting, with little time to exercise; let alone to do exercise that you are passionate about and enjoy. Surfing Mums allows mothers to continue surfing after having children. It brings together like-minded parents in the community, providing tremendous support and the opportunity to swap child minding with surfing.
Surfing Mums also sets a wonderful example to children; a healthy lifestyle that is about getting outdoors, doing exercise that you enjoy and doing it with your friends.
As a mum yourself, how has surfing helped you navigate parenthood?
Parenthood in many ways is like surfing. There are times when I feel like I’m in calm water, in control and enjoying all the wonderful aspects of motherhood. Other times I feel like I’m caught in a rip, and struggling to surface through the meltdowns and sibling tensions. What I have learnt is that I need to be calm, knees bent and expect the unexpected as I teach, encourage and comfort my children.
Surfing has taught me many lessons that are of significance throughout every aspect of my life and more importantly that I can teach to my three children. Surfing teaches me to be forgiving, patient with myself and willing to let go. There were many times when I was learning when I thought it was “too hard” or when I felt like giving up. These are great lessons I can pass on to my children, and when something is challenging or when they are faced with an intimidating situation I often explain it to them through surfing.
What have been some Surfing Mums highlights?
Almost every week is a highlight as I see mums return from the water, happier, more motivated and further challenged as a surfer as well as a mother. Mothers join us all around the country, some have wanted to surf their whole lives, but have never had the opportunity. I see these mums come with their babies and toddlers, and progress from catching whitewash waves on their belly, to confidently standing up and riding waves. It’s a joy to watch mums take on a new challenge in life, and accomplish so much!
Other highlights have been our Annual Getaways and AGM’s where mums (and their families) meet for a weekend packed with coaching, workshops and other surf-related activities. During these weekends members make long-lasting friendships with other mums and build an even stronger Surfing Mums community across Australia.
When you are not in the water, what can you be found doing?
Being mum of three girls, managing Surfing Mums Inc, catching up with friends or going to the gym keeps me busy when I’m not in the water! On weekends I love spending time with my family, whether it is for a swim, snorkel, bike ride or adventure!
What would you say to women out there who are considering giving surfing a go?
Surfing will be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. It’s important to have some surf lessons so that you have an understanding of the conditions, surf etiquette, the right waves to catch and how to catch them; and receive some tips about the right board and wetsuit. Then give it a go! Surfing is not only about standing up; there is so much to learn, and the best way to learn it is to go out regularly. Enjoy it and find others to enjoy it with you!
What are your favourite words to live by?
Seek and you shall find.
Surfing Mums is a not-for-profit association that supports a network of mums (and dads) who meet at the beach
or park to alternate childcare duties, enabling parents to enjoy some time in the surf. Surfing Mums was founded in 2008 by two mothers in Byron Bay. After meeting up regularly to mind each other’s children while the other surfed, they decided that this partnership could benefit mums around the country. They now have 34 groups around the coast of Australia with over 350 members and 500 children.