Pregnant surfing - the itw

Monday, March 24, 2014
You saw her video, you talked about her experience with your friends, you smiled with her and admire her bravery.
Here is the interview with Kristi Olivares, the surfer momma who made a lot of people and news -all over the internet and on tv- talk about her "Surfing Pregnant - Month by Month" video.

Surfragette: Hi Kristi! First of all, Congratulations for your new born and amazing family! You look so happy and this is heartwarming for all of us.
Kristi: Hi Marta! Thanks for the congrats! Our healthy and happy baby boy Alexander Bobby joined us in September and it has been a wonderful experience becoming a family of three.

S: Your “Surfing Pregnant – Month by Month” video got a buzz on the internet and on the news all over the world. Did you expect that?
K: I definitely didn’t expect that my video would be as popular as it has become. I originally recorded the footage and made the video as a keepsake for my son and myself.  I decided to put it on youtube because I thought it might inspire other pregnant women to keep doing the activities that make them happy while they are pregnant. I also hope that it raises social awareness to the idea that women can continue to do the exercise and activities they love throughout their pregnancy with adjustments and mindfulness towards their changing condition and the life they are creating.

S: When and why did you start surfing? What is your relationship with the ocean?
K: I started surfing pretty late in my life when I was 30 and my husband and I moved from Vancouver, Canada to Australia. The beach/surfing lifestyle was one of the things that drew us to Australia in the first place. I have always loved the ocean and feel like life is better when I am salty and sandy. There is something especially amazing about being on your board in the water at sunrise; the top of the glowing sun makes an appearance above the horizon and casts streams of fiery colour along the water towards you. Everything is lit with a golden hue and the waves you catch feel extra special. 

S: Was it hard to make your beloved ones and friends understand your decision of keep surfing while pregnant? How important was their support?
K: My friends and loved ones were all very supportive in my decision to continue surfing while I was pregnant. They know how happy surfing makes me, what a fantastic stress reliever it is and that it also has great strength and fitness benefits. What better time in someone’s life to be happy, stress free, strong and fit than when they are pregnant? Their support was very important to me mentally and physically. It was especially helpful near the end of my pregnancy with things like ‘friend carrying’ my long board down to the water with me or giving me a little push to get onto a wave when I was having an off-balance day. 

S: In the video your smile and happiness could be warmly felt even behind a pc screen. Weren't you scared sometimes? How did you behave during wipe outs?
K: Thank you, I don’t smile on purpose when I am surfing, it just happens! I was never scared when I was surfing pregnant because I was always very responsible about the wave size and water conditions that I would surf in. I live in Manly, Australia and there are many local beaches to choose from, one of which usually has much smaller waves than the others because of swell or wind direction. If I had a wipe out, I would curl up into the fetal position and relax underwater until I popped up to the surface. I was especially careful with wave selection during the 8th and 9th months of my pregnancy as my lung capacity was much less than it used to be and I didn’t want to be underwater for too long. 

S: Talking about some less serious (but still important for prego surfing in Europe for example) stuff – are there any good wetsuits that would fit a nine month belly? I don't know if the water in Australia was warm enough to be wearing just a bikini, but I've always been curious about the issue.
K: It’s a great question! It ended up that I was 7, 8 and 9 months pregnant during the Australian winter so I did need to wear a wetsuit. The Aussie winter is definitely not as cold as European or Canadian winters can be but in Manly the water can drop to 16 degrees and the air as low as 5. I have a few different spring suits and steamers and some are much more stretchy than others. One of my 2/1mm spring suits easily stretched with my growing belly while the other did not. They are both Roxy suits but the one that I had to stop wearing has a thicker rubber chest/stomach plate. The stretchy spring suit was the Cynthia Rowley patchwork style one and the patchwork seams probably helped it stretch with me. My steamers are both 3/2mm wetsuits but one has far more stretch than the other. This time the one with the rubber chest/stomach plate turned out to be far more stretchy than the other. I also had a friend give me one of her old and very stretched out steamers so that I didn’t have to put on a cold, wet steamer on days when it hadn’t dried from the previous surf. All of the wetsuits that I wore when I was pregnant are a little stretched out now but I can still wear them. I had to sew one steamer back together in a few places where it started to rip apart at the seams.  I think I’ll get a new steamer for this winter and save my stretchy ones for one of my surfer girlfriends if they become pregnant and decide to keep surfing. 

S: How do you respond to people's judgment about choosing not to give up surfing while growing a baby in your belly?
K: Pregnancy is a natural and healthy part of life, not an illness or disability as society can sometimes make it appear. I think that the most important voice a pregnant woman should listen to is the voice of her own body and heart. It is of course important to be sensible and safe in all of the things a woman does during her pregnancy. I can’t think of anything that I would rather share with my growing baby than the magic of surfing and the joy that comes along with it. I didn’t get much negative feedback when I was surfing pregnant but occasionally I would encounter a person who voiced their concerns to me about the possible dangers and the harm that I could cause to my baby. I did my best to explain to them that I take wave size and conditions into account and pointed out that every day situations such as driving a car, going up or down stairs or crossing the street are far more likely to be a danger to pregnant women (or any person in general). The biggest injury I had while I was pregnant was when I tripped up an escalator and bruised my knee on the sharp metal step.

S: Some piece of advice to all the surfer girls slash future surfer mamas who want to make your very same decision?
K: To the surfer girls and future surfer mamas out there keep having fun and try not to forget about the things that make you happy in life during your pregnancy! That little voice inside of you is always right. We each know our abilities and limitations so surf safely and sensibly with regards to them. I often felt like my baby was smiling in my belly as we slid down the wall each fun little wave! I think surfing is an amazing gift to share with your growing baby and I wish you all the best of luck!

Thanks Kristi for sharing with us your experience. You're such an amazing source of inspiration and I am sure that your story will give a lot of future surfer mamas that little push they need!

 You can follow the adventures of Kristi and her family on instagram @koko_surf

Watch Kristi's video here:

*Pics 1, 3, 5, 6 are by the talented photographer Mikala Wilbow. Make sure you have a look at her website

4 comments on "Pregnant surfing - the itw"
  1. Is surfing safe for future moms? Does it help lighten the delivery process. Just curious. SUP Red Deer

    1. Hey there! I don't know if it helps lighten it, but I'm convinced that as long as it makes you feel good, why not do it! I'll be posting another itw on the topic soon ;)
      Cheers - Marta

  2. Personally, I don't remember which means that it was probably long, long time ago! If you shop around, you will also notice that the board shorts are available in dozens of models and colors. telos islands surf charters

  3. Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks after conception, from the start of the last normal menstrual period (LNMP). Conception can be achieved when a male sperm penetrates into a women's egg and fertilizes it. VaikjuostÄ—


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