This mother, daughter duo captured my heart! After speaking to Debbie about how much her daughter loved stealing her Candy Floss Pink wetsuit, we had to get her daughter, Charlotte in one too! There is something so special about sharing your love of the ocean with your mother, or with your child, so I had to hear more of their story! Enjoy x
What is so special about sharing your love of the ocean with your daughter?
I love that it is an activity that we can easily do together and we both love. We love to try and catch a 'party wave', and we love staying close to each other so we can be on shark and stingray watch (both very real as we surf at Waihi Beach!). I also love lying on the beach in the sun after we've been in the water warming up and just chatting about everything and anything.
If you could tell your younger self 3 words of wisdom, what would they be?
I have to make it 4 words sorry........ "work less, play more"
However in saying that, I wouldn't be where I am now in my career and life if I had of done that, but a small part of me wishes that I had had more 'play time' in my 20s and 30s. However I'll just need to make up for that in my 50s, 60s and 70s!!
What is it that you love about the women's ocean/surfing community? and the space it creates for younger generations...
I love that it is welcoming for all abilities and ages and sizes. I've only started to surf in my 40s and I was a size 16-18. I'm now size 8, 50kg lighter and am still very low level capability when it comes to surfing, however I just love being able to spend time in the waves and feeling that freedom and adrenaline when you catch a great one. There is an older lady where I surf, she looks like she's potentially in her mid 70s and I see her out in the waves often and she's so good. I think she is absolutely awesome and when I'm her age I want to be doing what she does on the waves. I think that by showing our children and their friends that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance (eg. in my case learning to surf and starting ballet in your 40s) it gives them the ability to see that they could do anything and be anything they strive for if they work hard enough at it.
What inspired you to take up surfing? And what is it that you love about it?
I never really spent a huge amount of time in the ocean when I was growing up, we were more lake and river kids. However one day my husband and I had had enough of our crazy work lives and decided we needed some 'down time'. We ended up achieving that by buying a bach at Waihi Beach when our twins (Charlotte and Bobby) were 5 years old. That same year they learnt to surf at the beach with the local surfing instructor. I decided that if they can do it then so can I. So I had a beginner lesson and I caught the surfing bug !! I love the challenge it gives me and I love the feeling I get when I catch a wave and ride it. What I love the most though is that its an activity I can do with Bobby and Charlotte and although they are fitter and better than me its a fun family activity we can do together and we can all do it to our own ability and all have fun at the same time.
What women do you look up to and why?
I look up to many people like my dance teachers but most of all I look up to my mum. I look up to my mum because she is so strong and always finds the positive in a negative and has succeeded so much in life. I also look up to her because as an adult and over 40 years old she learnt how to do ballet and learnt out to surf which is super cool.
What do you love about the ocean? and what does your dream day look like at the beach?
I love how every beach is different and has its own uniqueness, I love surfing in the ocean because I love gliding across the water and being free. My dream day at the beach would have to be, having fish and chips for lunch with friends and my family, then going for a surf and body surfing, then getting a ice cream, then walking along the beach watching the sunset.
The world is your oyster! What dreams do you have for your future self?
I want to travel the world doing what I love, surfing and dancing! When I'm older I want to live by the beach and be a dance teacher at a school.
What do you love about your Gemma Lee wetsuit?
I love how easy it is to get on and the awesome colours and designs. It's so easy to move in and it keeps me warm in the cold water in winter! It's also super pretty and not many people will have the same one as you at the beach!