Can I surf while pregnant?
It’s strange how something so second-nature to us can pose so many questions during our pregnancy. I grew up surfing, but once I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure if I could, or even should, keep surfing. And if I could, how long could I keep surfing? Luckily, seeing expectant mamas ripping far into their pregnancies wasn’t so rare a sight in Hawaii, so I knew that there were many women before me proving that it’s totally possible to keep surfing with baby on the way.
Since we have so many water women in our Cocommmunity, we decided to ask them for their tips and tricks for how they kept surfing safely with baby on board. I wish I had these pointers when I was first experimenting with surfing with a baby bump! So if you're in that phase now, I hope you find this blog helpful and remember, trust your instincts, your body and be safe!
Adjust your position
Obviously, once the bump starts to kick in that’s where the logistics seem to get a little fuzzy. We looked to other mamas out there to let us know what worked for them. Paddling on your knees will take that pressure off your precious belly, but oh man your knees! Another suggestion was putting the pressure on your shoulders and chest while sticking your booty in the air… Might look a little sillier than usual, but whatever works! Other mamas actually just sat on their boards and slowly but surely swivel kicked / paddled their way back out. The trick is finding something works for you and even alternating between these options to find the sweet spot. It will take getting used to, but once you do you’ve basically already conquered tandem surfing. GO MAMA GO.
Look, you’re paddling for TWO now. Every stroke you take, every breath you hold, every pressure on your body has an impact on the little human you’re growing in there. I don’t say that to put you off of surfing, I’m saying that to emphasize the importance of listening to what your body is telling you. There will always be another set. Feeling fatigue? Maybe float for a bit. Maybe sit on your board and just take it in for a few minutes. No need to feel let down that your limits are not the same as they once were because you are like a METAhuman right now… A superhero, source of wonder, any of the above apply. You might not feel like it all the time, but you are pregnant and that is magic. So if you need to take a magical break then by all means.
Where do you feel safe?
For most of us we probably wouldn’t be in the middle of the line-up during pau hana hour battling for the best set while 30 weeks pregnant… But don’t let me tell you what to do. Much of the feedback we’ve gotten from other Mamas is to go where you feel comfortable. If you’re experienced and you trust yourself on a board that’s great, but one variable of surfing is that you can’t control everyone around you. Let’s just say be aware, bring a buddy to be an extra pair of eyes, and choose a spot that feels more like an oasis than a contest.
What to ride?
We got a lot of comments relating to what kind of board Mamas are surfing on. Soft-tops seem to be the most used because they are more forgiving. That’s a little more cushion for all that paddling on your knees and if you do happen to fall. Many moms are surfing on longboards because it’s easier to distribute the weight. Let’s be real it can be difficult to walk around pregnant let alone stand on a wave. So let’s keep our options open… like ALL the way open to say hand-planes? One Mama shared that after she was no longer on surfboards she would bodysurf, which brings us back to the joys of simply being in the ocean.
Image by @surfshooterhawaii
We are so lucky to have the ocean as our playground. It acts as a teacher, safe haven, and healer. Once you feel it’s best to give the board a rest till your little one makes their grand entrance don’t forget there’s other ways to get salty. Those achy joints and places you had no idea could hurt will benefit from some water therapy and you know it’s just good for the soul.
We hope that helps! Basically, if you feel comfortable, SURF. Your body, your baby, your call. Let’s just remember to stay positive, be aware, and go easy on your expectations…and just think, some day soon you'll be passing on your love of surfing to your mini grom on the way.
Did you spend your hāpai days surfing? Leave us a comment to share about your experience!