top of page

Surfing With Our Daughters

What a shared passion for waves adds to the lives of three mother-daughter pairs in Aotearoa. 


Photos: Josie Gibbs & Eirin Harterink


It’s autumn in Piha, the coastal township set beneath West Auckland’s lush Waitākere Ranges. Lucy Pownall (20) fastens a longboard to her car’s roof and with a wave to mum Ann Mayn in the kitchen window, she heads down the hill towards the water. Piha’s surf is split into two by Lion Rock, a great stack of volcanic stone. Rugged cliffs frame each end of the beach. “Even though I can’t surf at the moment [due to an injury], nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing Lucy’s board on the car roof and seeing her head out in the morning,” Ann says.


Ann had always thought about what it would feel like to surf as a teenager. “When I grew up girls didn’t surf, you just didn’t see it because it was a ‘boys’ thing’. I didn’t come from a beach family either, so I’d never tried.” It wasn’t until after the birth of her first child (Lloyd, now 23) in her mid-30s that her husband suggested she take a lesson out at Piha. Bobbing in the water on a board and looking up at houses set against bush-clad cliffs, she wondered what a life living in Piha might look like.


She relocated there with her family, becoming pregnant with her daughter shortly after. “It’s pretty ironic, because I didn’t get to surf straight after moving, but eventually I started to go out with a group of women here who surfed and also had children.” Surfing was introduced to their kids as they grew old enough to paddle out into the water with their mums. “We’d all go on roadies together to Omaha, and I'd be out in the water thinking: ‘I’ve got my son on one side of me and my daughter on the other, how cool is that?’”


Memorable waves were shared on...

Want to keep reading? Find the full story in Womenclan: Journal Two, available now.

bottom of page