Editors NOTE: OMG! I am so excited about this new series of interviews with surfing moms from around the world. Each will share their unique perspective, experience and stoke! Surf Stoked Moms will be using the hashtag: #surfmamasays for the series. We would love it if you guys tagged your photos that tell your journey as murfer (mum surfer) or as a stoked mom. We’ll be selecting some ladies to interview from these posts!
Ok here we go… Our first #surfmamasays interviewee is Tapashi Devchoudhury. Tapashi is the women’s surf/SUP pioneer in India meaning that she is one of very few women who surf at all in this part of the world. She and her husband run a SUP shop and school called Water Walk India,
which is near Goa. Beyond pushing the boundaries as the sport’s female ambassador in India. Tapashi said: is a new mother who refused to let go of her passion for the salt water life when she became pregnant and gave birth to her baby girl. She notes that: ” I see a lot of women around me who let go of their passion when they become pregnant. Sometimes even against their own will because the society here treats pregnancy like a disease. And when they become mothers, they are completely home-bound.” But personally, she has turned the idea that motherhood should be limited to home life into a limitless existence for her and her family. Tapashi’s via her Instagram account @saltwaterspirit is very beautiful and inspiring… Check it out! Thank you Tapashi!
1. Tell us about where you surf and live in India?
I live for half the year in a little village called Mandrem in North Goa. That’s is where I surf most of the time when I’m in India.
2. What are the waves like? What is the best season for surfing there?
We have mellow beach breaks in Goa, perfect for longboarding or SUP surfing. Winter is the best season here. And by winter I mean tropical winter with water temperature about 25 degrees 🙂 November, Feb and March, I have found, are the best months.
3. Does India have a surf culture? What’s it like to be a woman surfer in India?
The surfer community in India is slowly growing but it is still a very small fraction of the population. I cannot really say there is much of a surf culture.
Being a woman surfer in India is interesting and challenging at the same time. In the beginning there were people trying to talk me out of it for reasons ranging from “you will get darker staying in the sun, and no guy will marry you” to “I read that a surfer was eaten by sharks in some corner of the world”.
4. You recently brought a beautiful little daughter into the world and surfed throughout pregnancy, how has becoming a mother changed your surfing life?
Earlier, I only used to look out for waves and came out of the water only when I was totally exhausted. Now I often find myself looking to the shore to see if my husband is waving at me to come out, signalling that my daughter is awake 🙂 not much has changed apart from that.
5. Did people freak when they saw you surfing while you were pregnant?
Absolutely! Some were awestruck, others clearly disapproved… but everyone was positively freaked out! Some tried to talk me out of surfing during pregnancy, but I was sure of what I was doing.
I knew my body was going through big changes, so I mellowed down and listened to my body, but I knew I didn’t have to put my life on hold.
6. Do you think surfing helped you physically and/or mentally when you were pregnant?
Physically it helped me stay fit and active throughout my pregnancy. It was even more helpful mentally. With all the hormonal changes, it was great to be able to carry on with my passion. It kept me in good mood. Especially in the last days as I was 2 weeks overdue… if I hadn’t been in the water surfing, I’d have been at home worrying.
7. Your Instagram handle is @saltwaterspirit… How has the ocean influenced your life?
It was for a life by the ocean that I had the courage to walk out of a mindless office job and a meaningless life. Today I cannot imagine another way… If some day I’m not feeling the best, i only have to catch a few waves or visit the dolphins!
I’m grateful and totally in love with my life by the sea. I couldn’t have imagined a better place to introduce my daughter to this world.
8. Any advice for new moms who want to learn to surf or keep up their surfing after having a baby?
Not only will it help you stay in/get back to shape, it is one the best experiences that you can share with your child (whenever he/she is ready to surf)! Personally it keeps me feeling super stoked, which does wonders for my baby as well (babies are super sensitive…whatever you feel, the baby feels too).