Six big Wednesdays: twelve brave mums
June 14, 2014
IN FEBRUARY this year, 12 young mothers and their children met on the Inverloch beach for the start of a great adventure that would change all their lives.
Over six weeks, under the auspices of a couple of experienced surfers, the women more or less mastered the art of riding the waves. Even more importantly, their weekly visits to the beach reconnected them to the innocent joys of childhood.
As one of the young mothers comments in the film, “I was able to break the routine and have a little bit of my youth back. I sat the kids down and said ‘I just love you children!’ I felt really happy.”
A new film, Swell Mamas, In the Moment, charts the journey of the women who took part in Swell Mamas Supported (SMS), a program designed to build their confidence, body image, sense of fun and social connections.
The program built on the success of the initial Swell Mamas, who started in Inverloch five years ago as a group of mothers who liked to surf.
Lucy Cousens, who has been running the weekly Swell Mamas sessions from the start, says happy mothers equal happy families.
“To see their beaming faces in the surf and the happy kids playing on the beach and making friends has been the biggest reward.”
An SMS co-ordinator (and keen surfer herself), Geraldine Archibald said it was about the women but also about their children.
“It’s about the mothers getting their heads dunked in the water. They’ve had a beautiful play on the beach. The kids are in the sand getting their hands dirty, feeling the textures of the seaweed and the shells, exploring and learning so much in such a fun, amazing way.
“It’s joyful. It’s reconnecting. We say it’s escapism but it’s not. It’s really about connecting with what’s important – with the environment, yourself and the community.”
Eight of the 12 continued surfing after the program finished.
Lucy Cousens says she was really proud of the mothers. “There’s always a million reasons to say no. It’s raining today ... I couldn’t get there ... my child was sick ... but these women got themselves there each week.”
An initiative of Bass Coast Community Health Service, Swell Mamas Supported was funded by the Bass Coast Shire Council and supported by numerous community, government and business organisations, including the RACV Resort in Inverloch.
Regional Arts Victoria funded the making of the film, by Drift Media productions.
“I was able to break the routine and have a little bit of my youth back. I sat the kids down and said ‘I just love you children!' I felt really happy.”
Young mother, Swell Mamas, In the Moment
“We say it’s escapism but it’s not. It’s really about connecting with what’s important – with the environment, yourself and the community.”
Geraldine Archibald, Swell Mamas Supported co-ordinator
Swell Mamas, In the Moment: Watch a short
ABC Radio 774 broadcaster Libbi Gorr will launch Swell Mamas, In the Moment at Inverloch’s RACV Resort at 7pm on Friday, June 27. Tickets are $28 (including tapas and music) and can be bought at visitor information centres in Wonthaggi, Inverloch, Cowes and Newhaven or online.