Pregnant surfer an inspiration to women everywhere

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On
Kristina Olivares is an avid surfer, so in 2013 a little thing like being pregnant wasn’t going to stop her hitting the waves. Kristina surfed four days a week throughout her pregnancy and found that she could adapt to the demands of staying upright on the board as her body gradually changed. And while she was careful not to go out in huge waves, she found the experience to be very positive for her and her now five month old baby boy. Credit: Kristi Olivares

Kristina Olivares is a 34-year-old Australian woman who loves surfing so much she did it nearly every day while she was pregnant.

The Manly, Australian woman has created a stunning video of herself surfing four days a week for 9.5 months in 2013. An experienced surfer, Olivares wrote about the difficulties her growing body posed on her blog "Surfing Pregnant."

"It is definitely getting more challenging to surf now that I am 30 weeks pregnant," Olivares writes. "Luckily I have been surfing at least four days a week throughout my pregnancy so the changes to my body and the ways that I have had to adapt my surfing have happened gradually."

As her body got increasingly more cumbersome, Olivares found unique ways of balancing and adapted the sport to suit her needs -- eventually learning to get up on the board from her knees rather than her stomach.

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Yet further into her pregnancy, she explains how some people started to judge her for continuing to hit the waves.

"When I tell people I am still surfing I get a strong response from them," she writes. "Most people are positive and happy for me while a few launch into the 'isn’t it dangerous speech' speech," writes Olivares, who has been surfing for over four years.

Despite the fact that she was cautious to never tackle the ocean when the waves were over shoulder height, some people still expressed concern.

"It is usually people with no surfing experience who seem to imagine that I am recklessly surfing massive waves on a short board like a scene from Blue Crush. Unfortunately, those people often freely share their judgements and negativity."

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Her doctor, a surfer himself, was supportive of her decision, provided she acted sensibly and didn't take unnecessary risks.

Olivares joins a growing group of women who have experienced backlash for pursuing their sport while pregnant.

Last fall, an 8.5 month pregnant woman who weight-lifted until the end of her pregnancy denied accusations that she might be harming her baby.

And ballerina Mary Helen Bowers didn't let her pregnancy stop her from pursuing her love of dance.