I love my new surfboard because it’s fun, fast, sexy and mine. I also love my new surfboard because it will teach me a lot more. My journey continues! I have a whole new world of surfing to be introduced … Continue reading
Everybody, meet Blue. My new board arrived and I picked it up Thursday morning. Unfortunately, the surf was flat so I had nowhere to ride it! So I planned to take it out this evening – what do you know, … Continue reading
I waxed my board extra well this morning (to avoid any more slips like last week) and then stood watching the waves. Hopes of practising the unbroken waves went tra-la-la-la-la-la’ing away. Onshore, close outs. At least 4 foot. Nope nope … 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…
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
The sun had barely risen and a smog bounced off the sea cliffs with a spray-like haze. The sun peered through the mist like an orange orb. The green water washed into the beach like vertical walls exploding as though they’d been smashed with a wrecking ball.
My coach grinned, both excitedly and apologetically, ‘There’s a bit of a freak swell here this morning.’
I shrugged, trying to mask the dread I felt in my gut, and replied, ‘We’ll see how I go.’
We paddled out and sat out on our boards beyond the line-up while he explained how to spot the perfect wave. We paddled horizontally along the beach. A swell rolled under me, seeming to rumble before it had even broken. It hadn’t broken and yet the surface of the water dropped so far that I felt some vertigo.
‘That’s a big one!’ I called out.
‘Lucky we’re so far out; those guys in the lineup are going to be pounded!’ came my coach’s cheeky reply.
‘This is freaking me out,’ I admitted but kept paddling through the choppy water.
‘It’s absolutely huge out here…you’re doing well just being out here. It’s very intimidating.’
We watched the rest of the freak set roll under us before we put ourselves in the line-up to catch our waves. I’m not going to lie: I did some spectacular nosedives and got smashed and pounded. But you know what? I’ve never felt as confident out there in the water as I did today in the big swell. I think I can owe that to the awesome coach I had. He was encouraging and informative – also super friendly.
After I did a few cycles in the rinse and “got my hair wet” I was over my nervousness that wiping out in big waves would hurt. Was I held under? Yes but only for mere seconds. Did I drown? No. Did I eventually catch waves without nosediving? Yes. Did I have fun? Yes.
My coach kept apologising and expressing his regret that the unbroken waves were so mammoth today, but you know what? I’m really glad that the swell was huge. It was taking me out of my comfort zone to even go in the rip and paddle out to the line-up, let alone doing it when the swell was up! Now I know I can go out and I can handle it.
Here’s to catching more mammoth waves and nosediving a few hundred more times!
If you’d like to check out the surf school I had my private lesson with, head over to http://www.islandsurfboards.com.au.