Duckling-diving

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

Meet Blue

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

Why do I freak out in onshore close-outs?

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

It’s a mental and physical thing

Wipe-outs. We all have them. At any stage in your journey, you might have them on every single wave. I don’t mind wipe-outs. (They’re just a good opportunity to go for a dip in the ocean.) Since my surf lesson … Continue reading

Crocodile

The ground shakes as the wave crashes against the cliff. There are huddles of surfers standing around. Should we do it? Should we? It’s a proving ground. A set approaches. Biggest of the day. It separates the kinaesthetic from the intellect. It would never be a question of should we. It was merely a question of how long do you want to live.

The best surfers come from places you never knew they were hiding. Down-low, as though a hibernating creature, just waiting for a swell this size. Off the rocks, off this planet. No way you’re going out. You stand there just fighting the urge to turn tail and run from the beach, but this is higher ground. There’s no where else you can run. 

You watch a young guy go out. Adios, you can’t help but think. He paddles for it and is almost eaten alive by the crocodile teeth as they come chomping down on the face of the wave. He almost stacks it, but he sticks it. The crowd erupts into cheers and whistles. He’s done it! Champion!

The champion comes back in. One wave wonder, in a different context. His face is white and his hands are shaking. He drops his board and his knees buckle. He can wear the crocodile scales of victory for today. He rode that son of a bitch, right down the line and lived to tell us about it.

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!