It’s only water

‘I know a place where you can have a wave all to yourself,’ a stranger told me as I waxed my board.
Stuff it I thought. Why not. I need to explore some different breaks. So I followed this complete stranger to a tucked away beach break less populated by the school holiday surf camps as well as the avid surfers. Who could’ve thought that my two regular surf spots could be packed to the hilt in the middle of the week, in the middle of winter.
‘Not many people like coming here because there are penguins. And where there are penguins, there are big fish,’ he said with a grin. Luckily I don’t mind big fish!
But something else was bothering me. My confidence had dissipated. Last week I’d made so much progress. Taking off down the line and trying bottom turns. This day I was quivering paddling out to the line-up populated by one person: my new friend.
‘It’s only water,’ he said teasingly. I know this. It doesn’t usually bother me. A big set rolled through and I bailed my board and ducked under. A steep wall of water. That’s all it is. I can go under it. I can go through it. So why was I so nervous?
Arriving home that night well after dark (and my muscles sore from surfing), my partner offered me dinner. No a voice in my head thought. You don’t deserve it.
A-ha. So that was why. My anxiety was back. It’s bad enough that if affects my life enough to cause me chest pain and an eating disorder – but does it really have to affect my surfing too?
I can go under it. I can go through it. It’s only an emotion. A steep wall of negativity in my brain. I go under it. I can through it. But I won’t let it drown me.

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6 thoughts on “It’s only water

  1. When I was a grom, I saw this guy who was in the magazines and was known for surfing xxl sized waves. So there he was at Kaisers and well…he sucked. In fact, a lot of old school big wave surfers suck. They can not do airs or 99% of the things that kids do today. But put a kid out at Waimea and they would freak out even though all it is about is taking off and drawing a line straight to the channel and nothing more.

    The big wave guys have a different mindset and through practice and mental ability; they charge when most are tossing in the towel. So most of it is mental, as is life.

    A doctor was not born to be a doctor. They are only a human that trained themselves to become a doctor.

    What separates us in life is some physical differences, some circumstances, and a ton of what goes on inside our brains.

    • Very true. I’m going to grab a few more lessons and see if I can raise my confidence a little. Logically I know I’ll be fine. I can swim. I can always ditch my board and go under. But when my anxiety takes over, it makes it hard just leaving the house let alone paddling out. It’s very hard to fight something that is in my own brain with me all the time. No matter. I’ll keep surfing! 🙂

  2. Don’t worry!! It’s a comfort zone thing… You will find that as you take small steps to push yourself, your comfort zone will expand and circumstances that previously felt intimidating will feel natural… The new beach, big fish thing was maybe a slightly too large step for now, so next time take a half a step 😃

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