When Claire Romea-Gorton catches a wave, her everyday worries of grazed knees and packed lunches seem worlds away.
After having her first child eight years ago, the Willagee mother of two decided on a break from surfing for the first time since she fell in love with the sport as a teenager in Britain.
But an idea born in Byron Bay in 2006, Surfing MumsInc, has helped her and dozens of other surfing mothers hit the beach at least once a week.
The mums meet at Perth breaks every Friday to catch waves and take turns watching the children.
It is the biggest of about 10 Surfing Mums groups in Australia with others at Secret Harbour and Geraldton. The sessions draw up to 60 mums at a time.
Ms Romea-Gorton, the not-for-profit association’s national president, said: “It’s just one day a week of time out for mum.”
“In the beginning it was pretty tough – it was just me and my son Zac sitting on the beach hoping other mums would rock up,” Ms Romea-Gorton said. "It’s grown from there.”
She said it was also a support group with mothers able to relate to each other.
“Life for women these days is pretty much equal and all that is kind of ripped away from you when you have a child because you are the main caregiver,” Ms Romea-Gorton said.
“You can lose contact with friends without kids, you’re often housebound and a lot of mums get postnatal depression. Having a group of mums who love being outdoors ... they become a support group of friends that aren’t connected to your friends and family.
“I do it to help other mums get out there and I love seeing the smiles on their faces because they’ve had half an hour in the water to themselves.”
“It’s just one day a week of time out for mum.”
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