South Coast Surfin’

Well HELLO. I do apologise for the lack of consistency in my posting lately.

I have been a very busy little bee.

If you follow my Instagram (which you do, right?) (@surfandfitnessjourney) you’ll know that I haven’t disappeared but I have been travelling!

I spent some time on the New South Wales South Coast and got quite a bit of surfing in.

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I surfed at Merimbula Bar, Merimbula Main Beach and Tathra Beach. I did take my board to Pambula Rivermouth but it was shallow and barrelling like Indo so I respectfully sat on the beach and just watched the waves peel and spit. What amazed me most about the surfing in South Coast NSW is that there are IMPECCABLE waves…and no one out. The most people I had to share the waves with was about four people on a Saturday morning.

When I came home, I was inspired to better my surfing. I hadn’t been out that much before travelling north and getting my hair wet really inspired me to keep training – because I’m still a hopeless case! I rocked up to my local at noon on a Wednesday. The car park was full. The line-up was carnage. We had beautiful offshore crystal conditions but it was the middle of a working day! It was astounding that so many people surf in New South Wales but the breaks are blissfully uncrowded.

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Unfortunately, despite the water being a toasty 16 degrees and having less wind than down in Victoria, I was still plagued with a sore ear. I dropped into a surf shop to pick up some ear plugs but the shopkeep (small world = he was originally from my local) told me if I have surfer’s ear, there is nothing I can do but get the surgery. I’m not that hardcore. But I also don’t want to have to stay out of the water in winter just because of an ear ache!

I got some ear plugs when I got back home so I’ll try them coupled with my hoodie and I’ll see how I go.

Sorry for the splurge but I have a lot to update!

Stay posted x

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My surfing journey (so far)

Surf = smile = stoke

Surf = smile = stoke

I always warm-up before I go out into the water, which gives me the opportunity to contemplate the ocean and how it’s behaving. I watch the water with a concoction of fear, self-awareness, anticipation, excitement, dread and hope. As soon as the icy water greets my feet and embraces my knees and laps at my chest, tickles my chin and washes over my hair, I feel a kind of senseless joy. Who could know that such a simple pleasure could (literally) wash away any negativities I have.

I paddle out to the line-up with the fantasy of riding a wave down the line and scoring that addictive hit that we surfers call “stoke”. I get pounded in the face by white-water as I paddle and my arms threaten to go on strike (not today you weaklings). I sit up on my board and wait. The waves are either a good size (aka, small and not so threatening) or massive and frightening. I still try. I’ve got the beach to myself. I don’t have to worry about getting in other surfers’ ways. My mistakes will be unnoticed (save by the ocean, myself and that little camera recording every sniffle, every grunt and every “looks-like-I’m-going-to-punch-somebody” paddle face).

The water walls up. Should I go? Am I in the right spot?

The critical moment

The critical moment

I’m more than likely not. I can never seem to get the “spot” part of the wave selection right. It’s possibly because I surf a beach break. Breaks keep moving around with every incoming set. I swivel and I paddle. I get excited and terrified. But I’m committed. Usually, if it’s a big wave, I start holding my breath already because I just know I’m not going to make it. It’s going to pick my tail up and haul me forwards and over the falls in mere seconds. Might as well start holding the breath and bracing for the tumbling of the hold down. If it’s small, I am excited. I can DO this! I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I miss the wave. Sometimes I fall off the wave. Sometimes I just utterly suck.

It’s a good day when I can get it right.

Freedom, gleefulness, mirth...all come from the ocean

Freedom, gleefulness, mirth…all come from the ocean

It’s even a good day when I can’t.

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success. My successes are little bits of incremental gains in confidence. I think I can do it. I think I can I think I can I think I can. My journey is long but I’ve learned a lot so far. Bring the rest of it on!

Back to basics

I’ve been swimming lately to strengthen my paddling muscles. No, I don’t actually know what those muscles are scientifically named. All I know is I need them to be better than they used to be if I’m ever going to stop being chucked over the falls (which is doing my confidence no favours, by the way).

I’m great at swimming if I’m submerged. I can scoop this arms and flick my booty with enough style and speed to swim competently. But this freestyle business…is a lot harder. I don’t like the traditional technique of being face down and taking a breath on the side every second or third stroke. I can’t master it. I never could at swim class as a kidlet, and I probably still can’t (if I actually tried). So I keep my head up. Sure, it makes my legs have to work harder but it’s a good thing I have thighs of steel from my horse riding. I’m not bothered by my “contemporary style” of freestyle.

But it’s slow. And hard. I go for a twenty-to-thirty minute swim and I am bothered. My heart feels like it’s going to be expunged. My breathing is shameful for somebody that is supposed to be chronicling her fitness journey. (Hangs head in shame.)

BUT

Today I was paddling my surfboard(s). I arched my back and powered through the impact zone without being a) pummelled or b) thrown off. I could really get some speed up! My demented freestyling has helped build some strength so I am singing praise for the aquatic exercise that is freestyle. Woohoo! Although, I need to build more endurance strength because albeit that I had more oooomph in my stroke – my body didn’t agree that it was a wise idea to paddle and paddle and paddle and paddle and paddle and paddle through all those breakers. Cue the expunging heart.

My surfing can improve away from the waves. While it’s improving, I can rebuild some confidence. I was lifted high by two waves today, but only one chucked me. I managed to ride the other one with a wobble and a gulp of sea water as it broke with me down the line. As for the rest of my waves, I just caught white-water. What better place to build confidence than back where the babies surf. At least I look like I’m an okay surfer in the white-water instead of a bad one.