Elizabeth Madin & Anna Shoemaker: The Surfing Moms of Hawaii
This episode is for all powerhouses in our lives—our moms!
Elizabeth Madin and Anna Shoemaker, the founder and founding member of Surfing Moms, share what their nonprofit organization is all about, their mission, and the magic and beauty that this community has created in their lives and hopes to create in the lives of other surfing moms out there.
Elizabeth Madin is a mother of three, the founder of Surfing Moms, and an Assistant Professor of marine biology in Hawaiʻi. She started surfing in her 20s - first in Hawaiʻi, then in California, and most recently in Australia. She took an unintended surfing hiatus after her first two children were born, which might have continued indefinitely had she not found Surfing Mums. Getting back into surfing - regularly, and with an amazing group of supportive and fun mothers - was such a game-changer for her that when she moved permanently to Hawai‘i, she knew she had to start a Surfing “Moms” group there. Elizabeth’s research focuses on ocean health. Likewise, she sees Surfing Moms as a way to help moms keep themselves happy and healthy (and catch some awesome waves at the same time!).
Anna Shoemaker, on the other hand, is a founding member of Surfing Moms in Hawaiʻi. Surfing Moms is a way for Anna to care for herself on a regular basis as well as provide postpartum support to like-minded moms in the community. Anna posts for the Surfing Moms' Instagram and from there does much of the organization’s community outreach. In the Summer of 2020, she learned how to pilot a drone to film their Surfing Moms Documentary. This is a new skill that she loves to work on!
From a handful of moms and keiki (Hawaiian for children) who started meeting on the beach to do ’surf-swaps’ about three years ago, they are now an established nonprofit organization that encourages moms to continue to follow their pre-motherhood passions and remember that before they were amazing moms, they were already incredible women.
Social Media Profiles:
- Website: http://www.surfingmoms.org/
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/joinsurfingmoms/
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/joinsurfingmoms/
- YT: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn-994a3lE0DpSEXzXwqXNQ/featured
- Tell me a little about your background?
- The roots of surfing moms go back to Australia—how did it start?
- What are some examples of how you accomplish your mission?
- Do you meet regularly and how is the meeting structured?
- How are the Dads responding to the movement?
- How are you getting the word out?
- How difficult was it to set up the nonprofit?
- Do you have a strategic plan to move around?
- If someone wants to start a group, what are the steps?
- What was your first surfboard?
- What was your best wave?
- If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
- Any departing comments?
Location: O'ahu, Hawaii
Welcome, Elizabeth and Anna to the Saltwater High podcast. The Surfing Moms. Yey!
How are you guys?
Doing pretty well. Thanks.
Yeah? Anna, you're doing well?
Yeah, happy to be here.
Alright. Awesome. I can't wait to talk to you guys about what's going on. You want to just introduce yourselves a little bit and say a little bit about your background and then we can jump into the project. Elizabeth, if you want to go first?
Sure. My name is Elizabeth Madin. I started the Surfing Moms group about 3 years ago when I first moved to Hawaii from Australia because I've been in Australia for a long time, but most recently the past 10 years before that. And I've been part of the group there, Surfing Mums Australia and it was just such a game-changer for me that I was desperately sad to leave that group and my surfing community, but I thought, "Well, we'll give it a try here." And luckily, Anna came along the first day and it's kind of been going since then.
Awesome. And you're also a Marine Biologist. Is that what I read? Yeah.
I am. Yup. I'm an assistant professor at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology here on O'ahu. And I study ocean health kind of broadly, but more specifically how humans are impacting coral reef and other marine ecosystems through the kinds of things we do, including climate change, overfishing, and so on. So yeah, I think my work and my personal interests are quite interrelated and the common theme is definitely the ocean.
Very cool. It sounds like we should do a totally separate podcast on your work. It sounds right up our alley here at Wave Tribe.
And Anna, how about you?
I found Elizabeth on Google. It seems like almost as soon as she created the group because I had just had my second kid and I said, "You know what? This is crazy. There's got to be other moms that want to surf." So I googled Surfing Moms. And Kailua, I'm in this little town in O'ahu, so as Elizabeth and Kailua Surfing Moms popped right up. And to me, I thought I was going to go find this really well-established group and just join right in. And pretty much that's how it worked. And I found out the group had just started that week or that month. And I was like, "No way, this is kismet." And the rest is history.
That is total destiny and the power of Google. Look at that. That's amazing. So did you have a website up, Elizabeth? Or do you know about SEO? And how did that all go down?
I do now only since doing this, but I did not at the time. It was not that organized. But what I had seen is that the way we organize our group, I had started a sort of a chapter in Australia of Surfing Mums. And the way we found that worked for that was just to have a Facebook page. I'm not really much of a Facebook person, but it was the best way we could find to organize a group of people that was often changing and new people coming all the time. So a text message thread just wasn't going to cut it. So I just went ahead and set up a Facebook page and said, "Hey, world, if you're a mom or a dad or a Karen and you have a kid and you want to surf and you live around Kailua, come and see me." And so I just said, "I'll be here at this time." And basically, that's how Anna and I connected.
Sweet. And where is Kailua exactly, on the island?
It's on the east side. So I guess when you think of O'ahu, most people think of Honolulu, Waikiki, which is on the southwestern facing shore, actually mostly south. And we're just about a 25-minute drive over to the west, but still a south shore beach. We're far from the north shore.
Okay. South shore still. So you get all the south swell down there.
Oh, you don't? What?
We don't get it at south shore, which is sad, but it's just a 25-minute drive over to the south shore, I guess they call it. The south shore's the Waikiki, Honolulu, all of those beaches are just 25 minutes away, but we have this quiet little town. It's really cute. They call it Kailua-fornia. So many people from California come and settle in Kailua, but then we go over and surf in Honolulu.
So do you get any rogue swells from maybe the kind of microsystems off the islands or something?
Yeah, we actually get them.
If it's a secret. Don't say anything.
No, it's not a secret. It's not that good, the swell over here, so you don't have to worry.
Nobody comes here to surf, but we do get a swell. When the north shore is going off, it'll wrap around, and then it'll hit these islands off of Lanikai, which I'm sure you've heard of. It's called the Mokes and sometimes we'll paddle out there, and we do get lucky with swells through the winter. So it's definitely not totally dry over here.
Yeah. It's nice sometimes just to go right out front, right? When you're kind of at home and don't want to drive anywhere.
Oh my gosh, totally. Any excuse to stay. We're about 5 to 10 minutes from the beaches here. Same with Liz. And anytime there's just the tiniest bump, her philosophy is "Go". It doesn't matter how small, how windy, because it is called the windward side, so we get a little bit of a wind swell. And I never regret it.
Yeah. I have this thing with my friends. Everyone's always checking the cam and looking at the swell, looking at the tide. I go, "Well, let's just go down there and see what's happening." And I can't tell you how many times we go, and you're just totally surprised.
It's magic. And I think the ocean is magic.
Yeah. For us, as moms and carers, mostly moms, but you really have certain windows when it's going to be possible and when it's just not going to be possible—if your child's sleeping, nap time, or they got to drop them off at school. So basically, the way we work is, I don't know, maybe it makes us better surfers because we surf such terrible conditions sometimes, but we just say, "Look, Thursday, 09:00, nine to eleven, that's when we're meeting." Wind, rain, shine, whatever. And a lot of times it's surprising how many times even on our side of the island, where it's not exactly a swell magnet, we get decent enough swell to have a good session. We have fun every time, and if it's pouring rain and lightning, we just go and have a coffee. But it's just like we can't really be choosy about our times necessarily, so we just pick a time and surf whatever's out there.
Yeah. No bad days.
No bad days.
That's a motto I like. Yeah.
So, Elizabeth, this idea started in Australia. What's a little back story about how it came to fruition there?
Yeah. So, I actually didn't really know the people who started it. It was 2 moms up in Byron Bay, which is sort of the easternmost part of Australia. And I guess it was about maybe 10 years ago. They just kind of got together and they actually didn't even live in the same city. I come to find out they both kind of had the same idea, I gather, and got together and said, "Hey, this is working pretty well. Should we make this a nonprofit and help other people do this in other towns?" So one of them happened to be a lawyer, and she set up all the paperwork and the tricky stuff, and they just got the word out there. And the idea, the model was just such a good one that I think once people started hearing about it, it just started catching on. And by the time I heard about it, it was probably 5 years later. And I only know this whole back story. I knew it was 2 moms in Byron Bay, but I only learned it when we started our nonprofit here in Hawaii. One of the moms, it was Amelia, our friend, came across I don't even know exactly how she figured out who it was that started Surfing Mums and reached out, and then she was incredibly helpful and sort of did a Zoom chat with all of us to walk us through all the pitfalls and how to do it and tips and stuff. So it's been really great because we've kind of come full circle to the original, at least one of the 2 originals. And then I think now in Australia, there must be 25 or so different groups all around the country.
Wow. So this is the first one in Hawaii.
Okay. So you guys are the founding members of the first. Are there any in the States? Do you know? Like in California or Florida?
Well, we've just kind of searched a bit, and I think we've come across, I think you too have Anna, like on Instagram, a couple of groups of moms that do some swaps and stuff. And we've reached out to them and it seems like some people have the same idea, but I think what we're trying to do is just create the nonprofit. So that like in Australia, it makes it so that if you want to do this, the groundwork is already done for you. All you have to do is show up and get some people to join, and then your group takes off from there. Whereas to start a group like this, it takes kind of some figuring out, it takes a bit of persistence. And I guess part of it is we want to be able to apply for grants, to be able to support moms in various ways doing this. And so that's been a beautiful thing about the Australian group is they, by incorporating, it wasn't just a couple of different groups that kind of blinked on and off the scene. It's a sustainable kind of long-term thing. And I think that's what we're hoping to do is make it possible and easy and long term for people.
Amazing. So I'm going to read the mission statement, which I just love. It says, "Our mission is to help improve maternal, mental, physical, and spiritual health by helping moms, and other caregivers, getting back to the water after having children." I just love that. It's such a great mission. And so tell me a little about how do those examples show up in the group, or how does the group show up in those examples that you have in your mission statement?
Yeah. It's wild because it seems so basic—the structure of the group is so basic seeming. We show up, we help each other with our kids, and we give each other time in the water, but it really does provide so much more than that. We have an entire education in the ocean built-in right there on the beach. We've done little home school activities and set up beach cleans. And we wind up being such giant helps to each other that it's really almost a mental health cratch after you have your babies. You've got this weekly group to look forward to that seems so basic. All we're going to do is meet at the beach and help each other out. But it winds up being what you look forward to all week and helps in so much more than just take turns and surf. We're helping educate our children, we're helping support each other's postpartum mental health, and we're helping clean up beaches, and it's wild because it winds up being so much bigger than just a surf swap every week.
Yeah. That in itself is so powerful. My best friend has 2 kids, and one of them is a toddler. And he can't wait to surf when we go surfing every week. I think it really is one of the only things that holds him together in his marriage, with his family, and his job, right? And I never really thought about like that. When we go surf, it's, for him, that kind of spiritual time, it's a friendship time. And it's like that for all of us, even if we don't have kids. If you're connected to the ocean, I'm sure we all are on this call, but when you have kids, there's so many more pressures. And so I can just see how you said if you go out with the moms and you know that your child is cared for on the beach and you can just surf and then have a good time for whatever 20 minutes or half-hour, however long it lasts. That's such a gift, right? That's such a gift.
Absolutely, yeah. Like Anna said, the current president of Surfing Mums Australia is one of the awesome women that was in the group, the chapter that I started over there, Claire. And she said, "I've come up with a new tag line for the group. And I think it sorts of sums it up." And she's so right. She said, "Waves are just the beginning." It's great because you get to surf, you get to do your thing, and that alone is mental health therapy. But just the community building, I really think, is probably even more valuable than the surfing, but it's all intertwined, right? Because we tend to say and they tend to say a surfing mom is a happy mom. And if you're happy, your children are happy. Your family is happy. You could hire a babysitter to go surf once a week, and that would be good and fun. But to do it with friends or you're building that community at the same time, it's pretty magical actually. It's pretty special.
Absolutely. So what's the structure like? Like you said, you set a time and a day every week. Is that how it kind of goes down?
Yeah. Basically each chapter of the Australian group and probably that's how we'll do it here, we'll have their own set time of the week. So a certain day, a certain time. And like I said, no matter what the conditions are, that doesn't change because you can't rearrange our kids' nap schedule at the last minute. And so you just pick a beach and you meet. So my group in Avalon, we pretty much always met at the same beach, but there were a couple we'd rotate between because we had a bunch of different beaches right around us. Avalon is where I used to live in Sydney. But here, we got a couple of beaches, and just based on the conditions, we'll say like, "Hey, everyone meeting at the Castles today at 9 or meeting at Flat Island or whatever." And then we all kind of show up, and it's not as clean and organized as you'd hope. Everyone doesn't get there at the same time. So as people get there, you kind of pair up, right? And so the first 2 people will say, "Hey, I'll watch yours and you watch mine." And then they kind of start slapping on the sunscreen on the kids, feeding them snacks so they won't cry and everything else. And then they go out and we kind of have an hour each, really. So your hour can be, if you're really organized and you've got your kids sunscreened up before you get there, you might actually get 50 minutes of surf time, but more realistically, it's sort of like a half an hour, 40 minutes, but I'll take 5 minutes.
That's beautiful. How about you, Anna? How do you kind of view the participation and the structure and that sort of thing?
Well, it was nice at first because Jack was super young. My second was super young, and I actually didn't surf the first few times. But what was really nice is having that reliable source where I was going to get there and someone was going to offer. Just the offer in and of itself to take your kid and you sit there and you're like, "Maybe." For about half an hour, you're like, "Yeah, if he stops crying, I'll go. In 15 minutes, I'll go." But it was so nice to get there and just chat, even for the first few weeks. And then finally, after a few weeks, you kind of got to know the moms or the kids or whatever. It started to click, and I started to surf consistently. But, yeah, for me, it was just having that reliable thing to look forward to each week. What was it, it was Fridays at first?
Fridays at first, yeah.
It was Fridays. And I was like, "I can't wait until Friday." Friday morning, I'm going to go with my crying kids. It doesn't matter what mood they're in and someone's going to offer to help me with them.
Yeah. And that's the thing. Like I said, it's never quite as crisp as you expect. Someone's kid is always crying.
But it works.
Yes, it works, somehow.
It's not tidy and you don't show up and go to the table and sign your name in or anything like that. But you go there and there's someone that is going to be there and know what you're struggling through this week.
That's awesome. So how are you getting the word out to other moms? I'm sure there's a big word-of-mouth component, but are you doing any, besides this podcast, any other advertising? I saw your social media page. It looks great.
That's all Anna.
Oh, dude, you're doing a great job, Anna. It looks so good.
Oh, that's so nice.
Yeah, I love the consistency in your imagery. It's really nice.
Thanks. Actually, we've been waiting on getting the word out. I don't know how you heard about us, but all of it so far has been word of mouth. The Instagram, because we have the babies on there and our kids, we're careful. There are Instagram methods, right? Of growth and liking, following and all of that, right? To get as many people, eyes on your organization as possible, but because it is our babies and new moms, I want them to be welcome to join at any point and not be deterred. We don't use any of those gimmicks yet. Eventually, when we are an established organization. We are an established organization, it's just so new. It's been in the last 6 months. Everything is just coming together. We've got a nonprofit up and going, and we have an official launch plan for this month, actually, which is so exciting. Once we have our website, I guess. We have a website that Liz put together a couple of years ago that's beautiful. But now, with all these moms that have been rallying around our cause and this organization, we have some really beautiful stuff coming together, and the website is going to be so beautiful. And once that's up and going and ready to share, I really do think we're going to have no problem getting the word out there, but it's already out there. It seems just by word of mouth, and people see the Instagram or see the website or see the email handle. And they're like, "I do want to be a surfing mom. I do want to join Surfing Moms. How?" And then they just send an email or send a message. And Liz and I are both pretty responsive. Amelia is active on Facebook on responding there, too. Oh, the Women Who Surf Facebook, I'm sure you've heard of it. It's so cool. Those are some of our goals right there. They're so rad.
Very cool. And how difficult was it to set up the nonprofit?
We're living that right now. We're figuring that out. Luckily, one of the other kind of core moms grew up here in Hawaii and had a lot of different contacts. And one of whom is a lawyer who was able and she specializes in nonprofit. So she kindly helped us set it up, which was great. We've done a bunch of fundraising through one of our members, Candace has been awesome and doing some great fundraising. Anna set up a GoFundMe. So through that, we were able to hire her to help us set up the nonprofit. I'm learning so much, we all are learning so much. We're learning about business, bank accounts, and what kinds of insurance you need for a group like this, which I'm in the process of doing right now. And then we had to get a lawyer to write a waiver, because when you're dealing with people and groups, you've got to make sure that everyone knows what all the risks are before they jump in, right? So, yeah, we're learning a lot right now. It's been a real education. And luckily, I think everything's coalescing at the moment. And as Anna said, we've got one of our moms is Casey, is an amazing photographer and sort of self-taught web designer. So she's made this amazing web page, which we're just about to launch. And so somehow, I don't know, it's like the universe is just fed the cause. And I feel like we found all the people we needed to find so far and many more to come to kind of make it all work. So it's coming together, which is very exciting.
Yeah. And then once it's up and rolling, you're going to move around—I guess you would move around the island first, right? Maybe try to set up different groups around O'ahu and then maybe go to Maui. I can imagine that this is something that a lot of people would love. So have you thought about a strategic plan?
To be honest, no. Strategic plan has not come up in our discussions. It's been more kind of fly by the seat of our pants in an organized way. We have certain steps we know we got to do, but no, we haven't. I think because what we've seen both in Australia I've seen and now we've seen here is that it kind of seems to self-generate interest. So, we're not trying really, honestly, there's not much we're going to get from this because we've already got our group, but I think we all just see the benefits and want to share that. And so whoever wants to come and be part of that, however people hear about it, the Instagram that Anna and Candice have been running is phenomenal for getting the word out. We also have our Facebook group, but we keep that close because that's more about specifics and where children are going to be and stuff, so we keep that close. But how people hear about it, I guess, however they hear about it, we'll probably try to blast out that, "Hey, we're launching if you are interested." And maybe people will come that way. I think Anna, you've said a lot of people have showed interest already and said just through messaging in Instagram like, "Hey, this is a great idea, I want to be part of it." So even actually, one of the women that's coming out for the launch and our first-ever annual general meeting is from California, and she's going to be starting a group there, so we don't really have a plan of how to do it. I think whoever wants to start up in whatever part of the country, we'll help you do it.
I think it has so much potential, right? Because moms are such powerhouses in the world. And just like in your mission statement in itself. I feel, of course, you're doing those things within the group. And as the groups grow, you have more impact, obviously, on the world and on those other moms. So I don't know. It seems like this is the beginning of something that could be quite amazing in the world, actually, when you think about it, right? And especially if these values are really embraced, right, around improving maternal, mental, physical, and spiritual health. Isn't that pretty much what we all want as humans?
Yeah, and have fun at the same time, right?
Yeah. And surf. I would put surf in there for sure. It has to be maybe closer to the beginning of the list. But surfing really helps all of those things. I don't know. I could just see as you get more people involved, it could really be a movement where you can have articles and you could have conferences and you could maybe have a baby line of clothing. I don't know. I'm like a serial entrepreneur. So I like to think that way.
Yeah. I love that.
Line of surfboards.
Well, I hope.
Or a line of board bags.
Yeah, board bags.
Yeah. And then actually, a lot of the stuff I own came from Surfing Mums because the group in Australia's got all these amazing sponsors. And so the sponsors donate stuff every year. And then I was just very fortunate. I ended up being the recipient of a board, a Hypo Krypto, which I love. My shortboard, the first one that I've ever owned and it's teaching me how to shortboard and my board bag and all these things. So there are kind of benefits to give back in that way. But I don't think any of us have visions for commercialization of any sort, but I think movement-wise, yeah, it's definitely become a movement in Australia. And what was really lovely is we have an annual general meeting there, for the group there every year. And just like we're going to start doing here. And what it is, though, is it's kind of this weekend where moms and dads and children from all around the country that share this interest, this love of the ocean, love of surfing, and are part of that community, meet every year somewhere in Australia and just have a surf weekend. And we fit the meeting itself in there as well. So right before I moved here, we decided, "You know what? Let's just go a little further afield. Let's go to Bali." So about 15 of us, we actually left the children in the dad's home for that one. Sorry, dads. But the moms, we all went to Bali and it was awesome because you have the people from your group. You may not know all the others and it's just a phenomenal group of people and you now got this even bigger community. It was fabulous.
Amazing. So speaking of dads, what do the dads think of this whole thing?
Oh, my gosh, that's so funny actually. Mei-Li and I were out at Queens the other day, and we're always talking about Surfing Moms on the break in between sets. And one of the dads actually, Liz, the day before, he was pushing Amanda on waves.
Oh yeah, that guy. With the 12-year old.
Yeah. So then we saw him again the next morning. Amanda is our good girlfriend who's pregnant right now, and she'll be due in the next month. And it was a small day, and I guess he was helping her catch the smaller waves that are hard to catch that day. And the next day, we were chatting and he goes, "You know what? I was thinking about you guys and what's up with that? What about surfing dads?" We're like, "You know what? We should change it to Surfing Caregivers."
Yeah. Doesn't have the same kind of zing to it, but yeah.
And when you were talking about your friend earlier in the conversation. Dads experience a lot of the same emotions moms do around new additions to the family. But our partners, I wonder if that's what you were talking about, our partners love it. They come home to a happier home. We go out, we surf in whatever part of the day, and we come home and the kids are happy, the moms are happier, so our partners are super stoked on it. And they join us a lot, right? Josh will join us. Quentin will join us. And we've had a surfing dad or two.
Yeah. They get visitation rights.
No, they get full member rights. It's just sort of we could only fit so much in the title. Well, you got to come and bring a kid if you want full member rights, right? But if you want to tag along, that's cool, too.
There is something to be said for having time with your female friends, right? And time to reflect on whatever it is. May be your female issues. That's an important thing to have also. So I can imagine there's a certain power in that, in having a group of women. It's a safe place, right? It's a safe place to talk about things and share so the dad can come once in a while when that door is open.
But, one day I would love it if someone did start a surfing dad's group, because there are a lot of dads, like my husband and I, we pretty much share the children care. We're a unit, a family unit, but we kind of pass to the time, share the caregiving and work duties about 50-50. So there are plenty of days when Josh is here with the kiddos. And if there was a surfing dad's group, like we said, he's always welcome at ours. But it would kind of be nice, I think, for dads to have that because I feel like there's not that many organized groups for dads, really, with children.
No, not at all. So if anyone's listening out there, contact the Surfing Moms for some advice.
We'll tell you how to do it. You set it up.
Yeah. So I have some questions I like to ask all my guests. So we'll start with Anna. I'll start with you, and we'll go to Elizabeth. So what was your first surfboard?
Oh, my gosh. I actually just did a photoshoot. My sister-in-law's a photographer, and she wanted to catch this epic weather that was happening recently and she said, "Bring your surfboard." And I haven't surfed it in 20 years but I brought this surfboard that I got when I was 12. It's a Becker out of Redondo Beach and it has red rails and no one cares about this, but I do. And I brought it out and I got all these pictures back. And the only reason I brought it was because it's my lightest board that's not a shortboard. And I was out at this beach that it would have just looked ridiculous to have photos in front of the size of the wave with my shortboard, so I brought a funboard. And anyway, I got these pictures back and I looked at them and they made me so emotional, which is so ridiculous. But I saw it wasn't the weather, it wasn't me, it was pictures of my board. My board from when I was 12. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I've had this board for 20 years." I didn't know how much it meant to me until I saw these really moody pictures. That board brought me through high school. It's a 7'4 Becker funboard. I surfed it when I was 100 lbs, I surfed it when I was 130 lbs. It doesn't matter, right?
I had a Becker. They were great boards back in the day.
And I did surf it pregnant a couple of times, too. So I guess that probably speaks to the funboard, right? The shape, it supports anything, but yeah, I loved it. I love my first board ever. I have to take it out somewhere.
And you, Elizabeth?
My first board was I've never known how to pronounce the name of the shaper, but Sakal out of Huntington Beach. And I first actually learned to surf, ironically enough, because we weren't living here. It was in Hawaii, in Waikiki like all the other tourists, got pushed on a big 11' log. And then shortly after that, my husband and I moved to Santa Barbara for my PhD. And pretty much as soon as we got there, we said, because where we lived in Australia before, that didn't have waves, it was up by the Great Barrier Reef so you don't get any swell. So he said, "Right, we got to get some surfboard." Because he'd been surfing since he was a kid, so we were down on a road trip down to see some friends in La Jolla, and we just stopped. And I was like, "Oh, let's just go in the surf shop." We went in and the guy, he just said the magic words. I think we were kind of teading around the edge of wanting to have children at that point. This was a long time ago. And he said, "Just picture on this longboard, you could have you here and your kid on the front." And I waas like, "Sold". So that's my 9' board that I still ride now and dorkily enough, we both kind of got, because a lot of his boards have a similar kind of patterns and stuff. They almost match. And Josh got a funboard. So those are our 2 originals, and I still surf on both of them all the time.
Amazing. I love that. Sakal. Yeah, I remember him, too.
So, Anna, what's the best wave you've ever had? Describe it.
I just learned about Malibu, which is crazy because I was born and raised in California but I'm from Palos Verdes, which has an epic secret spot you're not supposed to talk about.
I think we all know about it.
I know, right? I'm just trying to Instagram, what the heck! But my friend, Candace, started taking me to Malibu a couple of summers ago, and oh, my gosh, it's the wave you dream about. I can't explain it, but in my dreams, that's the wave I'm on.
Oh, so your best wave is the wave you haven't ridden yet?
No, you've been there, right? You've been there a few times.
Oh, you have?
I've been to Malibu, but I am a lot better in my dreams.
We all are, we all are. Trust me. It's like those pictures. This is what you think you are or you look like when you're surfing. This is what you really look like.
So good. And Elizabeth, what about you? The best wave.
Gosh. That's kind of a hard one. But I think I'm going to go with Uluwatu. One time, when we went on our Aussies Surfing Mums' trip there, I was so scared. So scared to go out through that cave. And I thought, "This is maybe not a smart thing to do." Because I've been surfing a long time, but you wouldn't know it by watching me surf. I'm not an amazing surfer. But anyway, we kind of talk to each other into it, and we did it. And I just had one of the best waves of my life there. And I just thought, "Wow, that was amazing." And on top of that, there was this feeling of like, "I did it, and I'm still alive." And I managed to get back in the cave after that, too. So I don't know. It was one of those feelings where it's like butter. You know that feeling where you're like floating butter? I don't know. Those are the words that come to mind.
I love that. Yeah. Uluwatu's a special place for sure.
Yeah. How about you? I'm curious what yours is, actually.
Oh, me? Oh, man, it's so hard. I always say that the best wave I've ever had is the last wave I rode, which was today, about 2, 3 hours ago here in Ventura. There's a little hurricane spinning off the coast, so we have a little hurricane swell. So it's been amazing. But yeah, South Africa, I think JBay is probably one of my all-time favorite waves on the planet. It's a special place. And also in Australia, I went to Bells Beach about 2 years ago, and that was also another amazing wave. So those are 2 that kind of stand out right now.
Yeah. It's fun.
So Anna, if you could go back to your younger self and give her some advice, what advice would you give her?
Don't stop surfing. I stopped in my 20s. I stopped to party and, I don't know, do the college thing, and then get married, have kids, finish my degrees. And then as soon as I got super, super busy with motherhood, and I added motherhood in, surfing actually helped me. I think if I could go back to 20-year old me and say, "If you keep surfing, it'll help everything else." But I kept thinking, I don't have time for that. I only have time for this, this, and this. But now that I'm a mom and I'm still doing everything else, and on top of that, keeping 2 kids alive, if I don't have surf, nothing else gets done. I have to have that to look forward to every week. Yeah.
What's one of the greatest lessons of life is that we have to take care of ourselves first before anyone else can be taken care of, which we always forget when we're younger, right? We always forget that.
Yeah, that's so true. That's kind of the core of what we're about. Yeah, we all want to have fun, but we got to take care of ourselves so we can take care of the ones we're in charge of. And honestly, it just makes such a difference being out there once a week with some friends in the water, at least. I get out more than that. We all do now. But just to have that as your anchor, so good.
Yeah. Absolutely. And you, Elizabeth, if you had to give advice to your younger self?
Gosh, I think it would be something along the lines of stop worrying what anyone else thinks. Everyone else is just winging it, too. No one really knows what they're doing. I realized that now. Now that I'm in a position of supposed to be in charge of some stuff. No, we're all just winging it, that's for sure. And I think honestly, as it relates to surfing, I would be such a better surfer if I spent the last 15 years of surfing the way I spent where I surf now, which is I don't care what anyone thinks of me. I obviously don't want to hurt anyone, I don't want anyone to run into me, but I don't care if I look like a goofball because I'm having fun. And if you can let go of the awareness of what other people are thinking and just get out there, commit, have fun, it's so much better. And I think it's kind of a metaphor for life, really, in everything you do.
Absolutely. Yeah. Those are 2 great lessons. I love them. So if the Saltwater High crowd wants to get a hold of you guys, you want to tell us the website address and Instagram address. We'll put all this in the show notes, too. But just in case somebody's driving, and it's like, give it to me.
Yeah, sure, sure. So the website is www.surfingmoms, with an o, .org. Not to be confused with the surfing mums, mums of Australia, which we are still very close. And then we have a Gmail address. Email is the easiest, it's firstname.lastname@example.org. So with the idea being with the call to action of like, "Hey, we're a group, but we want you to join." So email@example.com. And then we've got our Instagram handle, which is @joinsurfingmoms. Right, Anna? Yeah.
Yeah. And we're responsive on Facebook as well. That we have a couple of different platforms on there. So, yeah, everyone's eager to communicate with anyone interested. So I know Elizabeth had mentioned that we're kind of flying by the seat of our pants here, but she's worked really hard on setting up a really strong foundation so that when we start next month and a mom approaches us that she wants to start, we have moms that do want to start on coastal part of California, Elizabeth puts together a manual. Elizabeth puts together membership process, the insurance. So it's all right there for we have moms in Florida want to start a chapter which is going to be rad. We have NorCal, SoCal, hopefully, North Shore like you said. That'll be rad, too.
Very cool. Well, thank you both so much. It's an honor to speak with you. And I look forward to seeing the site and collaborating more. And let's do whatever we can to make this world better. And yeah, just thank you so much.
Thank you, too, Derek. It's been a real pleasure and yeah, lovely to chat with you.
You, too. Okay, bye.