Sheridan Nelson
Sheridan Nelson Kari Bourne

Mums rule waves

ONLY a surfer truly understands the bliss of escaping into the ocean in search of the perfect wave.

The peace and solitude is a joy that an increasing number of Coast mums are discovering.

For the past two years a growing band has been drawn to "mum" surfing lessons with Robbie Sherwell and his wife Carlene.

With the kids packed off to school and hubby at work, the housework is put on hold while they hit the waves.

"As soon as you experience being out on the surfboard and that first wave you get this adrenaline rush and a high, that's what they're after," Mrs Sherwell said.

"It's a total outlet of daily life - a stress release - and I find with a lot of the mums that's why they come."

But for Vicki Brown, surfing is so much more than a hobby.

She has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means paddling to catch every wave is a struggle.

But it doesn't stop her.

"Basically the collagen structure in my body is wrong. My ligaments don't work so my joints can dislocate. If I cough I can easily dislocate a rib," she explained.

"For me to go surfing, I struggle to carry the board to the beach and struggle to get out.

"But even though it's a physical struggle, it makes me feel better mentally.

"When you're in the water the phone can't ring, the kids can't whinge - it's total peace and tranquillity," she said.

"It's an hour once a week that's my hour. It's all about me and I look forward to it."

The surfing lessons provide a chance for the mums to socialise and work out at the same time.

"We have our surf then they go and have a coffee and chat about it," Mrs Sherwell said.

"Honestly it is so good for our figures - arms, thighs, buttocks, tummies."

For information on the lessons contact Carlene Sherwell on or call 0423 039 505.

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