Sharing the stoke

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!

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His second-day of surfing and look at him go.