Surf Getaways women: Alison Harris
Meet Alison Harris, she’s a recent participant of our Lennox Head monthly Surf Programs and her take why you should take up surfing no matter what stage of your life you’re in.
Where are you from?
This is a tough one haha. Originally from the Byron Bay area, my husband and I married and have spent the last 34 years in different locations around Queensland, working and raising our 3 children who have now all left the nest. Having family in the region, we regularly visited and spent holidays here, vowing to return on retirement or when the time was right. And we moved back here permanently in July this year. Woohoo!
What do you do when you are not in the water?
Well at the moment, to be honest, not a lot. Haha. The surfing is quite tiring in a great, healthy kind of way so I’m lazing around a bit in between going to the beach and playing around on my board. I do love to sew and cook as well as going out for coffees and dinners, and I’m loving reconnecting with old friends as well as exploring the area, camping and going for long walks at the beach. We’ve downsized, so I am redecorating and trying to reduce our belongings so we can live a simple, clutterfree life.
How long have you been surfing?
I’ve just started, having only done about 5 lessons but I love it.
Why did you take up surfing?
I’ve wanted to learn for years but circumstances meant it was not quite the right time. I have a background in swimming and ocean swimming and spent a lot of my childhood out in the surf boogie boarding and body surfing. I used to look over to people surfing out the back and would always wish I could do it.
We introduced our son to it many years ago and he absolutely loved it and still does. I have watched him heading out and thought that one day I would join him out the back. I’ve wanted to learn something new and have a challenge with no time limitations and no pressure to compete.
Being new to the area the idea of meeting like minded, happy healthy supportive people ( women) was important. I’d let myself go over the last few years both mentally and physically and have in the last year been able to (with help), transform my life through healthy eating and a strength and conditioning program which I maintain throughout the week. With this has come a new found confidence which at 56 and moving back home is perfect timing.
Learning to surf now is the natural progression as it will enable me to continue having fun and keep healthy and fit in my mature years.
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Apart from the joy of surfing the waves, what else has surfing given you?
● Focus:- to be honest, I had lost focus since my children left home. Years spent focusing on supporting their endeavours then having them leave, left a huge hole. I’ve spent years trying to adjust and find something I loved.
● Confidence:- The program of healthy eating, strength and conditioning which we (my husband and I) had the opportunity to embark on in February this year certainly started the ball rolling with regard to believing in ourselves again and that even at our age we could get fit and strong again. The progression to surfing has given me confidence that I can do what I set my mind to. It’s given me confidence to be me and DO me and that’s ok.
● Connection:- We all want to belong and having just moved to the area I was wanting to join a group of like-minded women who are encouraging and supportive and are inspired by learning something new, trying and just women who you can be yourself around. There are no airs and graces when you put a wetsuit on, get dumped, have hair everywhere, snot coming out of your nose, sand in every part, no makeup. Just women getting out there having a go. No judgement.
What would you say to a woman of any age considering trying surfing for the first time?
Just do it. What is there to lose? Who knows…. maybe you’ll just love it and never look back.
Tell us about an empowering female in your life and how they influenced your life/ career/ surfing.
My mother passed away last September after a very long battle (10 years) with early onset dementia. A fit, healthy beautiful lady succumbed to early onset dementia at 67. Life as she knew it stopped for her at a very young age. She however always instilled a “just give it a go“ attitude in her children, something for which I am eternally grateful.
I tended to want to DO everything at once and HAVE everything at once but she would say…“ you CAN have everything Alison, just maybe not all at once”. My priorities were with raising my children for many years and now it’s my turn. My mother was right. Haha
Tell us a fun fact about you, something non- surfing related.
I’m a little crazy with a wicked sense of humour. I love music and dancing and singing and listening to music of the 60’s and 70’s..
If Alison’s story hasn’t inspired you to give surfing a go, we’re not sure what will! Cdown to one of our Surf Clinics and join our community of amazing women, because as Alison just said, “Who knows…. maybe you’ll just love it and never look back”!