Surfing in the First Trimester

I’m pregnant, YAY! I’m excited to finally be 13 weeks pregnant and not shy about sharing the news. I’m also excited that i’m finally starting to feel a bit more like myself. I still get really tired in the evenings, but most of the nausea has faded – although it can come back quickly when scrolling through all the previously delicious looking recipe posts on Pinterest! 


If you don’t know already, i’m a former professional surfer who now runs Women’s Surf Yoga and Adventure Retreats. Surfing is a huge part of my life. When planning our pregnancy, my husband and I thought about timing. We figured I’d be totally fine to surf at least until the 4th month but that we should be sure to plan the later months of pregnancy and delivery for the low surf season of our business – the often stormy, rainy months of August – October. Fortunately, we got pregnant right on schedule in December which points to an early September due date. Perfect!

What I didn’t fully take into account was how sick and exhausted i’d feel in the first trimester. Our first retreat of the year was in late January – the 7th week of my pregnancy. Getting out of bed in the morning was a struggle. I was battling fatigue, morning sickness, and the anxiety of knowing there were a group of 12 ladies who wanted to surf with me waiting for me to make my way down to the beach! I was able to drag myself down there an hour or so later than the rest, and I did paddle out, do some coaching, and catch a few waves myself. But my body was not happy about it, and I couldn’t stay in the water for long.

holly preggers toes on nose

The 6th-8th weeks were the worst, but once I got to week 10, I actually had a few days where I felt marginally better. There were moments where I almost even felt normal! By week 11, I was back in the water surfing and feeling really good about it. I feel a bit weak after taking it so easy for the last month and I am still definitely taking it easier than normal, but it feels really really good to be back in the water and riding waves.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.46.54 AM Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 11.28.01 AM

I’ve been reading a lot about surfing during pregnancy and have been surprised to see photos and videos of ladies surfing deep into their 7th, 8th, and even 9th months! We’ll see how long I can stay in the water on my surfboard!

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5 Responses to Surfing in the First Trimester

  1. EJ says:

    Oh my gosh, we are on a similar pregnancy schedule!! I’m due mid Sept.
    So exciting. I’m a surfer living in Santa Monica, CA USA.

    Was really cautions about surfing or running first trimester knowing it is a fragile time. But at 12-weeks I went out for the second time and had a blast! So happy to have my surf stoke back. I ride a 9’0″ and knee paddled mostly, but found i could comfortably paddle prone on my belly too. Was an awesome moment paddling over to my husband to give him a kiss in the water, congratulating him that our little MerBaby (mermaid + baby) had their first ride!

    I’ve also come across the SeeaBabes Surfing through Pregnancy article.
    In case you haven’t already see this, I love the full documentation of month by month surfing in Australia.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience & amazing video of you at 14 weeks!
    Looking forward to following your journey.

    PS- just had the trip of a lifetime staying at Playa Colorados in Nicaragua. Lance’s Left was best surf i’ve had!!

    • hollybeck27 says:

      right on! i’ve seen that video and am hoping to make my own shortboarding version!
      good luck with the pregnancy and if you’re interested in more blog posts about natural births etc., check out my other blog –

      • EJ says:

        ha- awesome i’m also doing home birth. not as diligent about sharing the news out on the w.w.w. thanks for being a great voice!

  2. Erin says:

    I just found out that I am pregnant with our 3Rd child. We live on the Chesapeake Bay and started skimming a year ago. Both my husband and 9 year old daughter have gotten in on it while my 6 year old son prefers to build castles and throw sand. Being out on my board has been total stress relief, exercise and Zen when I have the time to myself and skimmed all winter with a wetsuit, bottles and beanies. I’m 36 and never had too much excitement about excersising at the gym and skimming is my total outlet. I’m trying to accept the fact that I won’t be out there for the next 10 months as I am between 4-5 weeks now. I’m assuming it’s not safe due to the possibilities of falling however do intend on asking the OB just in case it’s alright for any length of this pregnancy. If there is anyone out there with any information please do advise. My OB appointment won’t be for another 4 weeks and in the meantime, I’d like to just maybe have the hope that they’ll say it is safe for at least the 1st trimestet, until then I’m just going to pick up beach glass and maybe watch YouTube videos while I sit in the sand.

    • hollybeck27 says:

      hi erin,
      im not a doctor, but i can tell you that my doctor told me to stop surfing. he didnt understand the sport and my proficiency. you have to listen to your body. if you are a good skimmer and don’t fall, then do it until you feel like you shouldn’t be doing it. once you get an actual belly which will start to throw off your balance then it’s probably time to stop. but if you feel good in the first trimester, keep doing it! especially since it’s not your first baby, you know your body. keep it up!

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