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Mums on waves

24th January 2019 The Gisborne Herald Kim Parkinson

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Photo: More than 70 Gisborne mums took part in the first surfing session yesterday targeted specifically at mums sharing waves and good times with like-minded women. Talking mothers through the basics before they headed into the surf is instructor Mags Middleton-Eshave. Pictures by Liam Clayton

A surfing initiative for mums, organised by Gisborne Boardriders Tairawhiti, was a hit yesterday, with more than 70 women taking part.

Gisborne Boardriders volunteer Emily Walpole said they were overwhelmed with the response to a post on the Boardriders’ Facebook page two weeks ago.

“We put it out there and 463 people registered interest. When 100 of those signed up Flo (Florian Bub, boardriders club surfing development manager) called and said ‘we have a problem’.”

With help from the YMCA, Walking on Water Surf School and Surfing with Sarah, they managed to get 15 coaches to give their time at no cost, and were able to provide 50 boards and wetsuits for those who needed them.

“We want to reconnect you with the ocean — it’s about having fun and sharing the stoke,” Emily told the group yesterday.

“Let’s get more women in the ocean.”

Flo Bub said he was thrilled with how the first session went.

He said the initiative, dubbed Summertime Surfing Mums, was about providing a platform where women could now organise themselves into groups and continue the practice, or take lessons. There will be one more session next Wednesday, but “it takes a lot of resources for such a large group”.

The group was divided in half and former professional surf coach Mags Middleton-Eshave took the more experienced group down to the beach for a safety briefing and a recap on the basics.

Each coach was assigned five surfers and Mags was positioned on the outside to keep the group contained. Perfect conditions and a solid swell meant the first session was a success.

After the surf the women enjoyed wine and cheese and a barbecue.

Flo thanked local producers Matawhero Wines, Waimata Cheese and the Village Butchery for providing the refreshments, and invited people for a koha towards Surf for Life, a surf programme aimed at helping at-risk youth.

The social aspect of the programme of connecting with other mothers through surfing was a big part of the event, Emily said.

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