Surfing with Mommy: A kids book for the next generation of ocean advocates
When we heard through Groundswell Community Project (a non-profit surf therapy organization where Jenny and our founder, Jessica, met volunteering) that Jenny had written a book about surfing mommas we were stoked to hear more about her journey to becoming an author and the inspiration behind the book. Here is our interview with Jenny Woudenberg and her book, Waves of Love: Surfing with Mommy. Her book can be bought through Sea Blue Collective, where Hakuna Wear also has an online shop. Thank you Jenny for representing surf mommas in our community.
Waves of Love: Surfing with Mommy book in the sand1. Hey Jenny, tell us a little bit about yourself and where the idea for WAVES OF LOVE : SURFING WITH MOMMY came from? During the April 2020 lockdown I was in my second trimester, laid off from my job, and had a lot of time on my hands to search the internet for books about moms and their children surfing and exploring nature together. I found a wide variety of books, baby clothes, and blankets about surfing and going on adventures with dads–nothing about moms. For years I have thought about writing a children's book, so I just went for it! The lack of books about surfer mommas became the north star for Waves of Love: Surfing with Mommy. The book, written in the voice of my baby boy, teaches kids about pregnancy, surfing, and how to be an advocate of mother ocean! The phrase Waves of Love comes from Groundswell surf therapy and it just latched on to my saltwater soul like a barnacle! During any moment you need some strength and support from mother ocean, give yourself somes Waves of Love and feel her lifting you up and refreshing your soul!
2. Once you had the idea, how did you get a book printed? was it an easy or difficult process? I posted on my Facebook that I wrote a children's book and was looking for an amazing illustrator. My old friend Michelle reached out and her style was just what I wanted - vibrant watercolor! We did a zillion drafts and then submitted it to Amazon. It is actually really easy and free to self-publish with them. I also sell on the amazing, ocean-loving Sea Blue Collective marketplace!
3. What has been the most challenging part of the book process so far? I really want to do book readings; I envision dressing up like a fish or mermaid and reading to kids at libraries...so hopefully that will happen at some point! I also have talked to at least 12 stores and only have sold my book in 2 of them, but it is a start!
4. What's the hope and the dream for this book? The hope is that kids will read the book, take the ocean pledge, participate in the kid-approved ways to care for the ocean, and see diverse moms surfing in a book! My dream is to see clean and happy breaks buzzing with diversity in the lineup and a generation of ocean advocates!
5. Tell us your surf story, when did you start surfing? Where is your home break? if you could travel anywhere in the world to surf, where would it be? I first learned to surf by an old boyfriend - such a terrible idea. It ended up in tears and fears that I didn’t belong. The Groundswell Community completely changed my feelings towards surfing and the ocean. I developed an amazing group of positive and supportive girlfriends to surf with, created a beautiful and deep relationship with mother ocean and motherhood that even inspired my book, and experienced the powerful healing properties that surfing and mother ocean can provide if we let her. This connection with the ocean has also led me to becoming an ocean advocate and changed my habits as a consumer to be more ocean-loving. My favorite spot is the San Elijo Campground in Cardiff! It is always a fun wave and has the nicest people! Look for my turquoise board and bright yellow helmet (I have had too many head injuries!) and say hiiiiii!
Jenny overlooking a San Diego beach before a surf sesh with her little one.
6. What advice would you give to young kid learning to surf or new moms who are getting their grom out there? The ocean holds all – play, laughs, fears, strength, thrills, stress, fun, anxiety, love, wonder…it is the perfect place for families to spend time together, connect, and learn life-lessons while having so much fun! I say - get an old foamie from OfferUp and just get out there with your groms to experience all that momma ocean has to offer! Too often young kids and families get stuck behind screens that can wash away their connection to mother nature, sense of adventure, and just having fun. This can lead to experiencing waves of anxiety instead of waves of love for both groms and adults. If you want to go out with other surfing families, check out all of the awesome Facebook groups like Moms Who Surf!
Jenny volunteering with Groundswell Community Project