The origins

Surfing Mums was founded in 2006 in Byron Bay. Two mums who loved to surf decided that they would find a way to surf even though they had 2 little ones. Vanessa Thompson and Julia Carle started out swapping 'surf babysitting' sessions on the beach while they surfed. It soon became apparent that this was something other surfing mums were missing out on! I remember a pivotal moment for me was when I attended a mothers group that was in a park. I was more interested in what the surf conditions were like that day than the conversation that went on at the mothers group. I knew I needed to find my tribe! Other mums that were sitting in parks wishing they were at the beach surfing instead. Surfing is a very selfish pursuit! 

So I put an ad in the local paper, the Echo, under the community group section. I also asked our local radio station BayFM to make a mention of a date. I had 12 mums show up. I had a piece of paper (yes we used paper back then!) and I wrote down everyone's phone number. We set a day to meet up once a week and set some guidelines around how to 'swap' surf sitting with our kids. Everyone loved it so much I knew that this had to be available for other mums. The internet was just coming into its own then so I had a friend design a webpage for me. We got some press. A morning show came and did a segment on us. We were in a couple of magazines and the paper. I started to use Facebook. Other mums started up groups in their areas.They also had media attention in their local areas. It was growing! A bit too fast. We got some sponsors. We created a logo which you still use today. This was taken from a photo of Julia and her daughter Jimmi walking up from the surf at the Pass in Byron Bay. We made some t-shirts and flags for the groups to be identified on the beach.
I started to have to think about liability. At that stage I knew I needed to not be the one that would be liable if something happened to a mum or child at one of our groups. My son was growing up and I could leave him on the beach without worrying too much and he could come out with me on small days. So I decided to set up the incorporated association and hand over the leadership to a president. From memory this was Claire Lesley who was president for many years I believe. 
I still surf as often as I can. I still run into mums who tell me Surfing Mums saved them. It saved me too. I'm so proud of what we did and all the mums who took up the cause and kept the groups going.
Vanessa Thompson
Human Resources and Management Consultant
Breathwork Coach