Tag Archives: Lisa Anderson

Water Babies

31 Mar

Crystal Dzigas - photo by Anthony Walsh

The last few months I have been adjusting an exciting new stage in my life; pregnancy.  By adjusting, I mean not only coping with the radical changes to my body, tiredness, nausea and hello girls – what has happened to my boobs(!), but with the list of things I am not supposed to eat or drink or even do. The biggest question I had for my midwife was ‘can I surf?

Since my early twenties, when I first met my husband, surfing suddenly became the pivot around which my life revolved.  He had a big part to pay in that, determined to ensure it was important to me as it was to him, he spent the first summer we were together towing me out back and pushing me into unbroken my waves to make sure I got the buzz.  Well, it worked.  Our life decisions revolve around being near the surf, we chose our jobs for that reason, and bought a house as close to the sea as we could afford.  So the next big life decision that we both made, to start a family was one that I knew would be a challenge.

I had already done some research.  Four times World Champion Lisa Anderson competed whilst pregnant, and missed only the last event of the year back in 1993.  5 weeks after giving birth, she was back in the water and made the final, eventually winning the event. Chelsea Hedges, World Champion in 2005 surfed until she was 4 months pregnant, and had her first surf three weeks after giving birth.  However I am hardly Lisa Anderson or Chelsea Hedges. When the midwife said to me ‘as long have you been surfing for at least 6 months beforehand, you can continue surfing’, I was stoked.

The general advice is that pregnancy is not the right time to begin any new vigorous regimes if you are not used to them, but having surfed for the past 6 years, I knew I would be totally comfortable in the water.  Despite the first 12 weeks of pregnancy being the most risky period, for a surfer, they are also the time when your body has changed the least, without the tell tale pregnancy belly. Low impact exercises such as swimming are recommended, and in my mind, surfing is low impact (providing there isn’t a collision with another surfer or your own board).

I had been inspired by the story of Crystal Dzigas, the Roxy sponsored Hawaiian pro surfer who had surfed until she was nearly full term. By paddling on her knees on her longboard, and switching from her usual break of Ala Moana Bowls to Queens in Waikiki, she surfed until at least 7 months.  Her partner pro surfer Anthony Walsh was proud to point out his unborn son had already competed in a surf contest as Dzigas had won the Noosa Festival surfing event in March 2010 whilst pregnant ‘he’s only seven months old and he’s surfing already’.

Life works in mysterious ways, and whilst in an ideal world I would have timed my pregnancy to miss a British Winter of freezing surf and 5mm wetsuits, ready to be back in the water for Spring, my body had other plans.  I discovered I was pregnant in December, and as I was desperate to surf before my belly got too big, I knew I would have to make the most of cold surf.

I have surfed only a couple of times whilst pregnant, as I felt I had to be choosy and pick the right conditions, and now my bump is too big for me to comfortably paddle on my short board.  I have found it very hard not surfing the last few weeks with the sun out and pumping waves. The reality of trying to squeeze myself into a restrictive Winter suit was a wake up call. 

My husband is now trying to get used to having a non surfing wife (and has experienced some of the earache that most guys get that have a partner that doesn’t surf).  It will be worth it, as we are both happy and excited to be growing our very own water baby, one that has already had their first surf!

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