May 2021

Kathy Wiles

25 years Surfing

Tell us about an intense or fun surfing memory

My fondest surfing memories are probably from travel adventures I took with friends when I was in my 20’s, as well as memories from the year I lived on Maui with my closest buddies. We were really good at faking it till we made it in random line ups; and the carefree joy, laughter, surprises and bonding we shared during our time in the water and travels together is something I’ll always cherish and remember. My husband and I have also had some amazing kid-free surf trips to Mexico the last few summers which have been such a treat!

What is your occupation

Labor and Delivery RN at El Camino Hospital

Do you have any significant community involvement?

I volunteer at my kids’ schools and am part of a local women’s running team.

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

I don’t surf with my kids quite yet… they’re taking baby steps in that department and we try not to pressure them. I don’t know if this is unique about being a mom who surfs, but for me, its been an ongoing mental game settling into the new identity of a working mother who (sometimes) surfs. Time becomes so limited after having kids, and as priorities shift, I’ve grown to really appreciate time in the water (even though I complain about a lack of it, horrible crowds, and my declining coordination, haha). Although almost a decade later and still a work in progress, becoming a mom has helped me learn to let go, step back, and appreciate what I have, because otherwise it’ll always feel like something is lacking or being sacrificed. I feel so lucky to still have surfing as an option to escape from daily routines and responsibilities. And I love the unspoken respect and bond that’s formed with other moms or parents in the water, knowing we’re all going through this weird and wonderful experience together.

What is your most memorable surf moment with your kids?

My kids aren’t surfing much yet but any moments we share on the beach, in the forest, or anywhere in nature where we can have real play time together seems to turn on a magic switch… I love watching them look and laugh with each other when they catch a wave together on their boogie boards. Even when not surfing, they’ll spends hours in their wetsuits going in and out of the water, unknowingly learning about tides and the rhythm and power of the ocean. I hope these early lessons will lead to a lifelong appreciation of living near the beach and all the ocean has to offer us.

What are some challenges of surfing related to motherhood?

Oh finding the time to surf, and dealing with the mom guilt of leaving the kids, of course! Between school, sports, music, work, social time & family time, our family’s schedule is non-stop. I struggle with the balance of continuing to live and grow in my own life while trying to be the best parent/wife/family member I can be. I want to set an example for them of pursuing what makes you happy and energizes your soul, but I find it takes a lot of childcare efforts and feelings of guilt to consistently make this happen. Yes, I need to let go of the guilt, but man its hard to shake! And I know they’ll be grown and independent in the blink of an eye, so always trying to remind myself to be mindful of the big picture. (Sidenote…I know I lived an extremely privileged life, so these are just my ridiculous, first world surf mom problems, lol).

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