Something unusual happened when I peeked over the rail at my local break yesterday. It was little…and I was actually disappointed. I chugged anti-anxiety drops on the way to my break and had pumped myself up for a confidence-building-progressive surf. It was offshore (HURRAH) but small. I stood and watched a while. Ahh finally. Some waves appeared.
I took my board out and started in the white-water. I fell off – TWICE. I didn’t seem to have my mojo. I paddled out in the rip and sat waiting for a wave. One came and I paddled for it, but I made the mistake of looking down. My heart leapt into my throat and I froze – which promptly made me pitch face forwards over the falls. I covered my head and waited for the churning to subside. I emerged with a hairstyle to shame bad hair days and paddled back out.
I sat watching waves for a while. There was a grom having a surf lesson with Brock from Island Surfboards (he gave me the first ever experience of standing up on a surfboard; thanks Brock) and a woman in her late 40s-early 50s having a lesson with another instructor. I watched the waves they paddled into, pushed and aided by their coaches. So I decided to just hang around a little bit near them so I could take off on the wave that followed the wave they rode. So I did. And missed quite a few. (I sit out further than others because of my board’s hugeness; it means I should be able to catch it earlier.) No big deal. I’ll keep waiting.
Then a wave came up. It looked big to me. But it was peaking up perfectly. It was like I had the voice of somebody completely different in my head: “Mal said you can do it, so you can do it.” Then my own thought process kicked in and I thought, ‘it’s going to feel like you’ve lost your board from underneath but just stay with it; go with it; you can DO it’. All of a sudden I was dropping down the face of a 3 foot wave and accomplishing something my anxiety has stopped me doing in a long time: progressing.
I couldn’t stop smiling all day. I caught four perfect unbroken waves, and one not so perfect (on my backhand). I was giddy with excitement.
1. Don’t look down.
2. Let your board disappear; just feel yourself on the wave.
3. You CAN DO IT.
Number three is really rule number one that I need to remember more often! You CAN DO IT.
Happy surfing everyone! x