Women in Waves taster days a great success in North Devon
It was a rare sunny day in Woolacombe this weekend when women from North Devon enjoyed a special taster day at the seaside. The Women in Waves sessions were designed to encourage women to get in the water this summer.
Almost 50 women, aged 29 to 75 years took part in the all day water confidence sessions. Women with all sorts of water experience turned up to enjoy the event including Jo Hunt who helps with Nippers (7-13 years) sessions at Woolacombe. She said before the event began, “I do Nippers and I go with my friend during the week body boarding, so I really enjoy the water.”
Her not so experienced friend Shelly Ward came along to get more experience in the water, “My children do Nippers and I don’t go anywhere near the sea. I don’t really like being cold and I’m not confident at all in the water. Jo’s made me do it so I’m doing it for the children really. I want to understand what they’re doing and hopefully enjoy it too. I might find a new hobby.”
The event, run brilliantly by Tracy Lark from Woolacombe Surf Life Saving Club offered women the opportunity to try out surf swimming, board paddling and body surfing in a fun and safe environment.
Speaking to Shelly after the event had taken place, she described Women in Waves as, “Fantastic! It was really so good. I don’t feel anxious so much like I did before. I’m not so worried about things. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I’ll definitely go in with the children now, which is lovely for us all.”
At the end of the sessions the participants came out with a Surf Life Saving GB Level 1 award and were treated to a free barbeque once the sessions had finished filling a hole after a day in the water.
After taking part in the event herself, Rosalie Birch from Surf Life Saving GB said “To see so many women of all different ages taking part in surf life saving activities in the water and on the beach was fantastic. Everyone had different reasons to take part, whether it was to be able to help their children in the sea or to gain more confidence about going in the sea themselves, but all participants finished the day with a smile on their faces and a much-increased water confidence.”
It is hoped that the women who took part will go on to continue using the sea, and perhaps get involved with their local life saving club, whether this be as a volunteer helping with Nippers (7-13 years) sessions or taking part themselves. Many participants are also hoping the event will return to the area again in the near future.
The event was organised by Devon Surf Life Saving with support from Surf Life Saving GB and funding from Sport England.