Ever since moving to the west coast, I pictured myself wave sliding. Nose riding on a perfect day. Sliding across the face of a wave; dancing gracefully up and down my board with the wind in my hair.
Two years later, I can proudly say that I still can’t nose ride… I can barely slide across the face of the wave… and sometimes only on my belly. I’m unskilled and awkward, am deeply self-conscious about being in my 30’s learning a new skill. I make the worst face while paddling into a wave (albeit, I try really hard!). I have a fear of the ocean, and of being knocked unconscious by my board – but as it turns out, my new board (lighter! smaller! less deadly!) does wonders for confidence (err just not my wallet!)
I’m proud that I’ve stuck with it, I’m still learning, AND having fun.
I’m gained so many things from the ocean… new knowledge about moon, tides, shifting sand banks, a reinforced love of travel.
I’ve learned to stop psyching myself out of a situation because of what could happen. Sitting in the line-up on my board makes my mind wander to “sharks” “rogue waves” “what if I can’t get in” “rip tides” “falling on reef”. All these thoughts are just created by my own ego. And although some of these things CAN happen, it doesn’t mean I need to create all these scary scenarios in this moment.
Surfing’s also taught me not to be afraid to fail (and fall!). Failing (and falling) gives us the opportunity to try again, with a bit more knowledge.
Learning something new also gives you the opportunity to have a “beginner mind“, without all those ingrained patterns of knowing and bad habits. Back to the basics. One skill at a time. For me, I started with being comfortable on my board in the line up – I would sit out on the shoulder for entire sessions watching the waves; learning to manage my board and how get out of the way. Then (over a year later!) I started paddling for waves, learning to catch them on my belly. And now, I’m working on popping up once I’ve caught it. And, guess what? Even Kelly Slater had to start somewhere (maybe it was 40 years ago…). There will always be little groms out there surfing circles around me, but we’re still on the same journey.
Surfing is fun for the fun of floating in the ocean on a giant piece of fiberglass and foam. Everything else is a bonus. Those occasional wave ride helps, so do beautiful sunset surf sessions, but sometimes failed take offs and nose dives are just as exhilarating.
So, if you see me out there, cheer me on as I paddle my hardest into a 2ft ankle buster. I’ll be the girl in the lineup with the smile on her face and the most embarrassing wipeouts. much love.