OCEAN CITY – Local surfer Michelle Sommers has been chosen as one of Athleta’s 2011 Featured Athletes.
Athleta is a women’s sportswear line. According to Athleta’s Chi Blog website, the message is “connecting women to the energy of inspiration.” The site provides tutorials, training plans and nutrition and health tips.
Sommers applied to the sponsorship program through the brand’s website. After she filled out a lengthy questionnaire, which was followed up in a phone interview, she was chosen as one applicant out of the 10 finalists.
“I would like to think I was chosen because to many mothers out there, I may be an inspiration to be able to do something you love while encouraging others and being able to be with my children as much as I can,” Sommers said.
Sommers said Athleta has been a huge part of her life over the past several years.
“As a mom, I need clothing that fits into a lifestyle of being active and comfortable, but wanting to still look good,” she said. “I love running on the beach and their running apparel is the most comfortable and flattering I’ve found.”
Sommers enjoys staying active through outdoor activities. She goes running on the beach every morning and likes to incorporate surfing, biking and yoga into her training.
“I am a better mother, wife and person when I am active and I think it’s important to take some time each day to yourself,” she said.
Sommers is a surf instructor who specializes in teaching women how to surf through individual lessons and weekend surf camps here in town.
In her late 20’s, she began surfing, and remembers being intimidated because the only local surf instructors available were men or young kids. She attended a surf camp for women in Oahu, Hawaii, where she realized the importance in learning how to surf in a relaxed setting with other women cheering you on.
“I wanted to offer that experience locally,” Sommers said.
Sommers began offering surf lessons and camps in Ocean City in 2009.
“The response has been fantastic. I have taught so many mothers and women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s,” Sommers said. “I teach the basics but also make sure my participants understand etiquette, safety and develop an understanding of the ocean.”
Heading into her third surfing season, Sommers is looking forward to adding Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) lessons beginning in April. She has also added more surf camps this summer and is hoping to offer a surf camp for kids.
“I am currently in the beginning phase of organizing a day on the beach for women to bring awareness to our coastal concerns,” she said.
The day will include surfing, SUP, yoga, nutrition info, skin care and volleyball. The event would benefit the MERR Institute, a local marine animal stranding organization and the local Surfrider Foundation. Those are two organizations Sommers supports.
“I am hoping to grow our surf group that we have for moms,” Sommers said. “We meet on the beach with the kids and take turns surfing so we can all get some surf time.”
For additional information on Sommers surf lessons, visit her website at www.sommerssurf.com.