By Melissa Grant
When you are drowning in the stress of motherhood, it helps to have someone to ride the waves with.
On the Sunshine Coast, women are riding those waves together as part of the Surfing Mums movement.
Each member pairs up with a surfing buddy and organises who will watch the kids and who will head out for a surf – and then they swap roles.
It’s a simple concept and one that’s changing lives.
Surfing Mums has close to 40 groups across Australia, including three on the Sunshine Coast.
Liza Edwards is one of the coordinators for the Caloundra group, which meets up twice a week all year round.
Liza joined nearly eight years ago when her son was 10 weeks old.
“I was a keen surfer before I had my son. But I didn’t go out regularly because I didn’t know many people on the coast,” she said.
“The group was running for a few months before I came along. There were only five or so members when I joined.
“I just found out about it through my neighbour and the paper. The next day I was down there at the meet-up.”
The Caloundra group now has about 80 paid members, with an average of six to eight mums coming to a meet-up.
The meet-ups take place at a beach between Caloundra and Kawana, with the group coordinators selecting a beach with good conditions that morning.
Liza says each mum gets about an hour in the surf.
“You find out what you need to know about the (other mum’s) kids and then swap,” she explained.
“Afterwards we try to go out for a coffee.”
The mums aren’t the only ones who benefit either.
“The kids have an absolute ball,” Liza said.
“We usually pick somewhere where there is a park and a coffee, and shelter if it’s going to be a rainy day. We have quite a few good beaches around.”
Surfing Mums also has a Coolum to Noosa group and a Peregian to Mudjimba group.
The movement was founded in 2008 by two mums in Bryon Bay. They had been regularly meeting to take turns watching each other’s children and surfing, and realised the partnership could benefit parents around the country.
The organisation isn’t limited to just mums. Dads, grandparents and carers are also members.
Liza says the impact on those involved is incredible.
Surfing Mums, she says, changes lives and has a positive impact on mental health.
“It just creates the opportunity. It’s the most simple concept – you just need one other person out there,” Liza said.
“My closest friends are the ladies at Surfing Mums.”
While you don’t have to be a seasoned surfer to join, you need some experience on a surfboard.
“We encourage people to get lessons. It’s a great group to nurture your surfing but not that place to do the learning,” Liza said.
Surfing Mums cost $1 per week to join, with funds going towards public liability insurance and other essentials.
For more information, visit https://www.surfingmums.com