Whenever anything isn’t quite right, I either eat a lot or go to the beach. I much prefer doing the latter. Days go by so quickly; it’s challenging to stay afloat. Coping and dealing are two ends of a management … Continue reading
I had a great feeling before I surfed on Tuesday. No anxiety whatsoever. Usually I have to chug a bit (a lot) of Bach remedy to quell my nerves but I didn’t need it the other morning. I carried my … Continue reading
I remember my first successful surf fondly. I was so eager to stand up that eventually I did, but I also remember feeling as though I stood out for the wrong reasons. Not for being uncoordinated and unbalanced, but because I was older and not exactly athletic. The anxiety I felt when being handed my wetsuit (would I have to change in front of these buff surf coaches?) and feeling weak as I carried the huge foamie to the beach (cue out-of-breathness). It made me want to be “good” at surfing all the more, just to prove to any critics that I could.
Ultimately, BED hit me after my first successful lesson and I got even fatter. But when you’re severely depressed and grieving, you really don’t care how you pull yourself through each day. We all need comfort. Unfortunately, mine turned into an eating disorder that made me even more depressed because I hated the way I looked (and felt). I hated myself enough to stop eating, and that’s when I knew I needed something else to focus on – other than hating myself.
That was when I decided to get healthy and see a psychologist, and go out on a limb and commit myself to surfing by buying my first surfboard. I’ve learned a lot about myself since deciding to surf. I know I have someone inside me that is confident and able to paddle through the impact zone, but also someone that feels confident enough to change into a wetsuit in front of buff surfer dudes (albeit awkwardly). Surfing has given me endurance and strength I never would have found in the world. I have my rough periods; the day the doctor “updated” my eating disorder was a day I felt like I had tinnitus – the words Bulimia Nervosa rang in my ear – in fact they still do because it doesn’t feel right. I am not Bulimic, yet I have Bulimia. I feel very disconnected from this diagnosis. I do not throw up food so how am I Bulimic? Again, the surfing has helped me re-establish my sense of identity and give me a place where I am safe.
Now I am fitter and healthier than ever before. I surf and I workout. I still struggle with eating like a normal person, but the important thing is that I try. I’ve given my psychologist the sack and I’m relying on my own strengths to heal myself, because thanks to surfing, I have power.
My journey is still just beginning…
As much as we don’t like to admit it, there’s a limit to what we can do or how much we can hold inside. I’ve been struggling for the last week or two. I can try to be optimistic but … Continue reading
Challenging yourself is a lot fun. I like to always try new things and see how I can incorporate new activities into my work-outs so that my body doesn’t just become ho-hum with whatever we’re doing…or I’m doing…Pardon the disassociation … Continue reading
I read a ridiculously asinine feature on a webpage earlier this week about how all those cool analogies we use for surfing are just rumours. For example, the surfer out there having the most fun is the best surfer and … Continue reading
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?
Balance. You need core-strength. You need a level-head. You need to be versatile and flexible. Surfing requires balance. Riding my horse (particularly bareback like I enjoy to) requires balance. Both sports require an ability to read something natural that is … Continue reading
I packed away my boyfriend’s wetsuit as well as mine when we embarked on our trip. Wednesday morning I said to him, ‘We’ll go to a really good beginner beach so you can have a go.’
He had no excuses. The wetsuit was in the car and we were there at the beach within five minutes.
I handed over my board and let him carry it into the water. ‘Are you nervous?’ I asked.
‘A little bit,’ he admitted with his eyes on the horizon.
‘Just have a go with the board. Don’t worry about standing up or anything,’ I said, planning to take him out to the sand and teach him to stand up once he got the feeling of the rush the wave gives you when it shoots you forward. Isn’t that where all of us get addicted as beginners before we challenge ourselves to the real fun of riding unbroken waves?
‘Catch this one. Turn the board around. Hop on.’ He followed my instructions begrudgingly. He caught the wave. And do you know what? He bloody stood up on the thing first shot!
He made his way back out to me in the breaking waves and puffed, ‘That is so fun!’ He kept trying and got better and better, standing for longer periods. Was I surprised that he could stand up on his first go? Not really. He windsurfed for many years. You know, that sport that was popular in the ’90s when we were all watching Tom Carroll rip it up at Pipeline?
He has great balance. I’m proud that he felt the stoke.
The best thing I’ve ever heard him say to me, apart from I love you, is: I want to go surfing again.
He’s already moping that he won’t be able to come with me for my next session. So now I’ve got some competition in the household! He’s going to progress a lot faster than I am and I actually appreciate the rivalry because it will push me to challenge myself more.
I’ve converted an old windsurfer to surfing. He’s willing to front some money for my next board. His reasoning? Hurry up and get a shortboard so I can have yours. No worries, darling. Challenge accepted. Now to keep practising so I’m ready to step down to maybe a 6’8 or 6’6, possibly even a 6’4 because I’m only 5’2 tall and don’t weigh much. Bring it on baby!
His second-day of surfing and look at him go.