May 2021

Ginaia Kelly

25+ years Surfing

Tell us about an intense or fun surfing memory

Surfing pregnant until 7 months along. Feeling great. Wearing my husband larger wetsuit. With birth of second child, was surfing again two weeks post-partum and felt like I didn’t miss a beat. Went snowboarding at 5-weeks post-partum; and at 10-weeks post-partum, was picking up toys on the floor with the baby on my chest in a Baby Bjorn, and herniated a disk in my low back and spent the next 8-days bedridden.

Solo–intense moment was jumping off the point at the Lane on a big day (double overhead +) to paddle around to middle peak, and realizing I was actually in the perfect spot when a big set was coming through. After one wave went through, I decided to paddle for the second, ultimately catching the biggest wave of my life, before I had a chance to think better of it. (15′ face.)

What is your occupation

Chapter Director Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (Secretary Panetta is on the board of directors)

Do you have any significant community involvement?

Volunteer for Ride A Wave for 19 years (taking kids with disabilities out surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking); Volunteer for Operation Surf for 5 years (taking wounded veterans out surfing); Past Director of Save Our Shores; Save The Waves Foundation; Red Cross Central Coast; and Workforce Santa Cruz County through Goodwill Central Coast. Attorney, Past President of Santa Cruz County Bar Association; Board Member Downtown Association. Member Santa Cruz Longboard Union.

Tell us something unique about you as a mother who surfs with/without your kiddos

When my son was a newborn, myself and three other surfing new-mamas, had a weekly babysitting surf-trade that we keep going for almost two years. Every Wed, the four of us would meet at my house near the Lane with our babies. Two moms would head out for their one hour surf session at the Lane, while the other two watched the four babies. We would have a half hour transition, and then the other two moms would go out. It was brilliant. We got to surf regularly; We could leave our babies with trusted friends; And it was cost-free! (Interesting note, one of the moms involved–Gretchen Bach, ended up buying the house of our surf trades 15 -years later. I have pictures of our babies playing together in the bathtub from that house. They are both 19 years old now and 6′ tall.)

What is your most memorable surf moment with your kids?

Surfing at the epic sandbar at Cowell’s beach with my kids, and every other family we knew in Santa Cruz was out in the water. We were all pushing our young kids into waves in front of the white water on soft foam boards. Utter chaos and laughter. Families in the water, cheering each other on; Others on the beach. I remember pushing my son and his friend Sayla Bartlett, riding tandem on a long 10′ board when they were about 8 years old. They were grabbing each other for balance; pulling each other off the board. Then coming back for more, laughing and beaming. Total mayhem. Absolutely paradise.

What are some challenges of surfing related to motherhood?

Your kid getting better than you.

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