Surfer, mother and founder of Surf Yonder, Sally McGee talks us through her journey finding balance - on and off the board. Starting your own business can often blur the lines between work and play and it is only when we start to actively make time for ourselves, that we realise how important these moments can be.
Words by Sally McGee | Surf Yonder
Photography by @tombingphoto
It's hard to take time for myself sometimes, I never thought I'd be a workaholic but it seems that sometimes running my own business where the lines between life and work are so faint makes it hard to switch off. We're holding out for a surf trip, waiting until the cold disperses the crowds. Waiting for the cold autumn swells to march into nooks of the UK that hold secrets and challenging waves. For now, I'll take what I can get; leave the phone at home and head down to North Yorkshire with my family to surf. There are always pangs of guilt that I should be teaching surf lessons, but it's important to take a few good days of surf for me too. We packed a fun quiver of boards, some good food to cook for lunch and headed down the coast in the van.
Companions on the trail
Finisterre Water Bottle - this comes everywhere with us
C-Skins Kids wetsuit for Billy - he is convinced he is a trainee lifeguard and the lifeguards often get him to 'help' them on the beach
2 x Yonder hats for me and Billy - these hats work well for all of our head sizes so we are constantly fighting over our favourites
A charity shop jumper for Billy
Yonder sweater for me - 'We Rise by Lifting Others' - screen printed by my good friend Helen in the Lake District
Yonder Surf Journal to document conditions - this is a little pocket guide we have developed and the more we use it, the more invaluable it becomes
Surf Wax - I wax up every time I surf, there is nothing worse than a foot that slips and ruins a wave
Sunglasses - Hey, you never know...
Badger Sunscreen - SPF50 (bought back from California) - I spend so much time outdoors and in the sea that I am always on the hunt for good suncream
Toy cars - we can't leave the house without a few of these
Apple - hunger creeps in when you are having fun outdoors
I'd known of Emma Tweddle for years but when I started Yonder and was actively advocating for communities of women that surfed to connect, I realised it was time to reach out to her. I sent a few women on the coast 'Sisters of the North Sea' T-shirts; I didn't know Emma at the time, but she was a fully fledged sister of the north sea and I wanted to acknowledge that. Since then we have started to surf together, she has taken me to her spots, I've taken her to mine. We push each other and feed off each other's energy in and out of the water. Our son Billy comes along for the ride, always. He's our little companion, a total reef-rat. It's important for me that we have friends like Emma in our lives to show him new places, welcoming friendships and inspiration from strong role models.
After sharing waves with Emma, Billy and I played on the beach, explored the boats in the yard and watched the kids learning to surf whilst my husband Tom had a surf. Billy's never known not having a camper-van; he's seen the sea every day of his life so far and shared adventures with us - both big and small. Whether he knows it or not, he was born into a world where the ocean is at the centre of everything. It's easy to lose track of priorities when we get wrapped up in work and the pressures of self employment, these little micro-adventures might not take much, but they give a lot back to us as people. If surfing has taught me one thing it's to get it whilst it's good. Nothing stays forever.