May 2021

Maria Neeley

Over 20 years Surfing

Tell us about an intense or fun surfing memory

A long time ago, before kids, I was surfing at an undisclosed beach break south of here, I pulled into a barrel going right , and I could see the shoreline right through the wall of water. It was so beautiful. I wiped out because I looked that way, but it was totally worth the view!

What is your occupation

“Play and roam” mom, part time surf coach.

Do you have any significant community involvement?

I am a part of an amazing crew of skateboarder women known as the Santa Cruz Lady Lurkers. I also like to clean up beaches for fun.

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

I am raising 5 wonderful children with my husband Dougal, our two oldest are my step kids, who have a strong, loving mother and step father as well. Our kids are Zinnia, 18, Dougal, 16, Xxer, 13, Mo Ray, 7, and Joji, 4. Our older boys, Dougal and Xxer have autism, they both thrive in the ocean, and love riding waves. I surf with one or more kids in tow far more often than I get to surf kid free. I have been surfing with Mo Ray the most often lately. I love watching my children progress, and develop their own relationships with the ocean, it is one of my favorite things about parenting so far.

What is your most memorable surf moment with your kids?

There are too many! I would have to say pushing Mo Ray at 3 years old into the first wave he ever surfed by himself, at Cowell’s beach.

What are some challenges of surfing related to motherhood?

Prioritizing my own surf sessions.

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