What Surfing Pregnant Feels Like – The second Trimester

A firsthand account of surfing pregnant during trimester two. If you are just joining us, make sure you read my first-hand account of surfing pregnant during trimester one.


At 14 weeks into a pregnancy, trimester two begins. The end of morning sickness, the return of energy and still a small enough belly that mobility remains. Or so they told me! Surfing pregnant, even in the second trimester, has unique considerations. 


The Challenges of Surfing Pregnant in the Second Trimester

First of all, morning sickness has no end date. While the majority of women do feel better by the second trimester, many of us do not. I was not among the lucky ones. I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant. I threw up in the lineup today… three times actually. So take nothing for granted is my advice. Despite my projectile surfing, I do feel less nauseous in general and I have had far better energy this trimester. When surfing pregnant in my last trimester, my biggest obstacle to surfing was my extremely low energy and high levels of nausea. These last three months have shown improvement in both.

Most doctors agree that it is perfectly safe to lay on your belly during pregnancy, however it is generally very uncomfortable. 


Surfing During Pregnancy
Lisa Tanner Sweeters of Florida switched to soft tops. 32 weeks here.



Surfing with a Baby Bump

Surfing pregnant in the second trimester has been marked by two new major obstacles. First is the baby bump itself. Although I’ve gained only ten pounds, so far and I’m still relatively small for someone who is almost six months pregnant. The belly however, is most definitely in my way. I didn’t expect my bump to be so hard! But the uterus is a muscle and it becomes hard as a rock during pregnancy, not at all like gaining a muffin top! It feels like surfing while laying on a football. It is uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful as the uterus gets cramps when compressed for too long.

I have found that sticking my butt up a bit helps but also makes for a very fatiguing surf session. So far I haven’t had to cut any sessions short due to the discomfort but we shall see what the next trimester brings.



Feeling Weak While Surfing During Pregnancy

The second big hurdle has been the strength that I lost during the first trimester due to sitting out more sessions than not. The nausea and fatigue made for a lot of missed workouts during months 1-3. Anyone who has been forced to take some time out of the water knows how quickly you lose your paddle strength.

Last month I made the decision to hang up my shortboards for surfing pregnant, after a little grom in the line up saw me surfing so badly that he assumed I had no idea what I was doing! After one particularly bad wipeout where I never even made it to my feet, he was worried about me being caught in the impact zone and called out, “Aunty, quick, paddle hard, the set is coming!” I laughed so hard. When I got home I asked my partner, who happens to be a shaper, to please make me a longboard!


Surfing During Pregnancy
My new “maternity” board. 22 Weeks pregnant.


Check out: Surfing Fitness: How to Get Fit for Surfing. Just be cautious of the twists and crunching motions if you are pregnant.



An Appropriate Sized Board for a Growing Body

The longboard surfboard was a great idea. I got a high-performance longboard so I can still have the feel of making turns and still handle the heavy Hawaiian waves where I live, yet have more paddle power giving me that extra second to get to my feet. 


I’m getting into a better rhythm with the sets, having just as much fun, and spending a lot less energy doing it. 


The Benefits of Being More Cautious 

Fear, or maybe just caution, is also a consideration at this stage. I find myself surfing smarter and more conservatively. Normally, I am the wipeout queen, having no fear of taking a late drop and often not making it, coming up laughing only to take four sets on my head. But now I find myself being more choosy about my waves.

A close friend said she lost her pregnancy just a few days after being struck in the belly by her surfboard. It’s not the first story I’ve heard like this. Because of this, I have been choosing to sit out heavier swells, waiting to catch the tail end as the power fades out and being very careful in my wave selection. To my great surprise I do not feel my wave count has dropped at all. In fact, it seems I’m getting into a better rhythm with the sets, having just as much fun, and spending a lot less energy doing it. 


Surfing During Pregnancy
Kimberly Larkin of California braving the cold waters late in pregnancy.


I still feel good about surfing now so I will keep it up for as long as it feels safe. But I’m not going to feel like less of a woman if I decide to pull the plug before month nine.



Feeling Like a Wimp if I don’t Continue Surfing During Pregnancy? 

There are lots of photos floating around the internet of mommas-to-be surfing with their beautiful baby bumps. While this is impressive and respectable, some new moms have warned me not to have expectations of myself. Surfing at this stage is a very personal decision. I still feel good about surfing now so I will keep it up for as long as it feels safe. But I’m not going to feel like less of a woman if I decide to pull the plug before month nine. The safety of myself and my baby is far more important than catching a few waves at this point. Either way is just fine and every woman gets to make this decision for herself.


Surfing During Pregnancy
Anna Garaway ten days before delivery. Taking it easy on some mellow waves but not ready to quit!

Stay tuned for more information on surfing in the third trimester, even if it is body surfing!

Cover Photo: Zoe Emery of Cornwall, UK, at 26 weeks pregnant.

I am a writer and wanna-be big wave surfer. Surfing is my muse. I write about it and how it’s teaching me to live better. I hold certification as a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga instructor, and lifeguard instructor. My story “100 Days in Mexico” of how a solo road trip surfing my way through Mexico changed my life can be found here www.melanielainewilliams.com


  1. I surfed up to two days before my daughter was born. Soft top boards had just come out. Being an avid short boarder, I knew if I wanted to continue surfing I’d need to learn to knee paddle. It worked well and I learned to paddle out on my knees with my pregnant belly between my legs. I’d catch a wave on my knees and then jump to my feet. I kept to small waves as a precaution for the baby. I didn’t want a bad wipe out. Also, she was born September 2nd, so no wetsuit needed. Not sure if one would’ve fit had she been born in the winter. Great memories. Thanks for sharing this article.

    • I’ve been thinking I need to work on the knee paddling. It is harder than it looks. I also find that just getting to my feet is hard with changing core strength! I can’t believe you surfed up to two days before delivery. WOW!


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