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Surf’s up to soothe the soul


Helena Richardson knew it was time to offer something different when she heard women say they no longer wanted to just be in charge of sunscreen, snacks, and sandcastles at the beach.

Her idea of women-only surf and yoga classes led to a wave of interest from the community.

“Women want something for themselves, not just for the family,” Helena said.

Through her business, Women Soulful Surf, Helena promises women of all ages a connection with nature – particularly the ocean – that is empowering.

Having surfed her first wave in 2015, the yoga teacher from Poland moved to Caves Beach after she met and married her Novocastrian husband in Bali.

When her first child was born the following year, Helena said she longed to return to her favourite ocean activity and began seeking out other like-minded women.

“I knew there were plenty of people in the water surfing, but I hadn’t seen many women out there,” Helena said.

“Through my yoga practice, I had heard from lots of women that they would like to try but, because

they didn’t learn as a child, they were now too intimidated to start.

“I wanted to show them that it was possible.”

Helena joined forces with surf instructors Mikayla Atkins and Tiffany Boddey to bring women’s surfing and yoga classes to Newcastle, launching Women Soulful Surf in August.

“Both surfing and yoga help us connect to our bodies, and build strength and resilience,” Helena said.

“It impacts in a positive way not only our bodies but also our minds.

“We’ve already run three very successful surf and yoga events, a beginner’s group class, and numerous private surf classes.

Photo: Hilda Bezuidenhout

“Seeing all the ladies stepping out of their comfort zone, trying something new or just taking some much-needed time for themselves – and what is most important, having lots of fun while doing it – makes it so rewarding.”

Women Soulful Surf is an ASI accredited surf school that welcomes women and girls from eight years of age.

The group hosts one-hour lessons on the first Saturday of each month at either Blacksmiths or Caves Beach, depending on surf conditions.

“This is not just for mothers,” Helena said.

“We want women of all ages to experience the joy that comes from spending time in the water.”

The group’s mission is to create a community of like-minded women who can feel supported and empowered while learning to surf or practice yoga.

Go to Women Soulful Surf’s website for more information.

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