Boards make the surfer…or do they?

Boards make the surfer...or do they?

Boards make the surfer…or do they?

I first stood up on a wave on January 1st, 2013, on an 8’0 soft-top foam board at Smiths Beach, Phillip Island.

I went surfing again February 5th, 2013, on the same board at the same place. Then my life went downhill and it was a while before I could step out and go surfing again. October 2013, I went surfing again and decided that surfing would be my saviour from the darkness.

I got my surfboard November 28th 2013 but it took me until after Christmas to find the courage to go out and give it a surf. I’d wanted a surfboard and wanted to be a surfer girl for as long as I could remember. I finally had the board and a strange delirium took me over. I had such trepidation about actually getting out there on my very own 7’6 Mini-mal that it took me almost exactly a month before I actually used it.

That trepidation is playing out even now, with my second board, a 6’4 fun board.

On my 7’6, I catch waves. I can steer and do basic turns. But I get out the back on any day over 1.5ft and I get nervous. In fact, I get scared. I don’t even know why. On my 7’6 board, I am not confident to try for waves.

However, on my 6’4, I know I can get out the back without being too pounded by the impact zone. It’s lighter and easier to paddle and turn. So I paddle enthusiastically out the back, even on days when the surf is bigger than I know I should be attempting. It’s 8ft? No worries. I’ll give it a go. Worst that will happen is I’ll get dumped. And I do. Oh boy do I get dumped. And thumped. I mean, absolutely-annihilated-thumped but I am absolutely-fine with it.

I don’t know what it is. I take on a different persona when I ride the different boards. I know I can surf the 7’6 efficiently yet I am too frightened to try. I know I will wipe out efficiently on the 6’4 in big(ger) surf yet I don’t care. I tend to stay in the white-water on the longer board and only try little waves. The fun board has me paddling for waves I know I’ll never make, yet I try anyway.

What is this odd stage in my journey? Do I perhaps need an in-between-size board? Why is it that I have little to no confidence on a more stable board, but have all the charge (and little of the success) I need for the short board?

I do believe I am confused, but I’ll continue to take both boards out. Why not. What harm does it do to try and fail on the shortboard and be confident, while being a nervous wreck but pulling it off on a longer board?

Am I just a conundrum? Perhaps not. They do, after all, say that the board makes the surfer…but does it?

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Reflection

Image

I am quite nervous to post this, in all honesty, I still don’t feel 100% confident in a bikini (especially broadcasted online) but I thought I’d share this to offer some hope to anybody feeling as though they’re stalled or “stuck” at a weight they are not happy with.

The picture on the right is an accomplishment. I know this. But so is the picture on the left, because you know what: I was grappling with the same emotional problems as I am on the right. I don’t feel confident. I don’t feel beautiful. A “bikini body” hasn’t made my happiness level grow whatsoever. All it’s given me is a freedom to show my body without fear of bullying, and that isn’t my problem or my body’s. It’s society’s; and it turns out that even super hot models are told to lose weight to look good in a bikini.

I hate my weight in the picture on the right just as much as I hated my weight in the picture on the left. It’s addictive to see that number go down and to see measurements reduce, but you know what I’ve found? I look in the mirror and I still see the girl on the left. My social life is no better. My grades are no better. Losing weight hasn’t made my life wonderful, like weight loss campaigns tell you. I don’t have more energy, in fact, I have less. I am more tired and colder than I was at my highest weight, but hey, I can wear a bikini.

I used to want to look like Alana Blanchard (who wouldn’t), and then she admitted she had body issues (my world fell apart for a day). Just today, I noticed some creep had told her she was looking chunky and she needed to lose weight on her Instagram account. Why is it okay for guys to tell a model she needs to lose weight? What a jerk. I’ve never been called fat, and I was fat. Here is a fine example of a fit and healthy athlete being told such rubbish. I’m sorry Alana Blanchard that you have to suffer such treatment. I’m sorry anyone that has to suffer such treatment.

Some wise friends of mine told me to throw away the scale and be happy with my body because it is healthy. They’re absolutely right. I don’t post this as a “look at me; I lost weight; my life has changed” post. No. I post it to remind people that our health and fitness are more important than our looks, and to remember that pictures are deceiving. I had an eating disorder on the left. I have an eating disorder on the right. But don’t I look so happy?

Nikki Van Dijk lost her heat but she won hearts

Nikki Van Dijk lost her heat but she won hearts

Nikki Van Dijk lost her round 4 heat to Carissa Moore at the Rip Curl Pro. Not that she didn’t surf amazingly. She just had one of those days.

She got the surfboard slap of a lifetime and will probably be sporting that black eye for the rest of the WCT and she also fell on rocks and was pummelled by the whitewash. In the interview she gave to the ASP afterwards, I really felt the urge to give her a hug. She’s worked so hard all her life to get where she is now. She still scored a 14.10 – a mightily respectable score (Dimity Stoyle won heat 4 with a score of 11.50).

I don’t envy the pressure that is on the pro surfers’ shoulders. Win. Win. Win. Surf well. Win. Surf well…but win (and also flaunt a Brazilian bikini so we can market you). You can see it all over Alana Blanchard’s face when she surfs in competitions. It pulls her under and she can’t often land a good score.

Sure, Nikki’s a rookie. But this girl is a champion. Mark my words.

She doesn’t even need to win for me to know that.

Go Nikki. You’re making Phillip Island proud.