Surf or Die Trying

Currently the later seems more likely!

I’m a kitesurfer, I can surf on my paddle board (sort of) and I absolutely love the ocean. You’d think learning to surf would come natural to me. Well, think again!

As much as I love doing all these activities, it really just doesn’t come easy. Even though I know what I need to do in my head, my body just doesn’t seem to be able to actually do it. I’m clumsy, the opposite of athletic, I don’t have good balance, I’m very uncoordinated and I often feel it takes my muscles 100x longer to remember a movement than other people’s. I’m one of those people that can’t go for a walk without stumbling.

Meet Sunshine, my new longboard. 

Meet Sunshine, my new longboard. 

And probably worst of all, I lack confidence when it comes to these things.

So why do it? Why not just be happy with kitesurfing and SUP-surfing?

Because I’ve always wanted to surf. I’ve always admired and envied surfers. It’s like my Mecca, my holy grail. I know I will never feel completely satisfied with my life if I don’t at least give it a really good try. Otherwise, one day I’ll be 70 and still think “man, I wish I could surf”.

So here I am, on a beautiful winter day at Muriwai beach with my newest baby – Sunshine, a 9” longboard. Rumour has it that, the longer the board, the easier it will be – given the session I just had I’m kind of hoping that rumour might be false because if this is easy then, OH BOY!

To be fair, Muriwai is probably not the best beginner’s spot. Crazy waves, strong current and massive rips are the signature conditions our here. But you have to make the most of what you’ve got and the east coast (which is much less crazy) is completely flat today. And it helps that today was a small day and I’m only catching white wash right now anyway.

So I went for it!

Turns out my suspicion was right, the challenge with surfing it getting up! Given I can surf on the paddle board, I’m kind of hoping that once I’m up that experience will help me progress a bit faster.

It was an absolutely stunning day out at Muriwai!

It was an absolutely stunning day out at Muriwai!

For those non-surfers, let me walk you through the theory. You paddle out and wait for a wave (or, in my case, white wash). You then try to paddle into the wave fast to build up speed. As the waves grabs the board, you pop up, find your balance and ride the wave. Sound easy enough, right?

Well, the problem is that I don’t pop. The wave comes and grabs me, and instead of popping up I probably look more like a heavily pregnant woman trying to get out of one of those deep arm chairs. Needless to say, by the time I’m up the wave is over.

But the good news is, I wasn’t exactly a natural at kitesurfing either (pretty sure I set a new record for the slowest person to ever learn kitesurfing – I’ve got witnesses). But I got there in the end and now it’s the most amazing thing in the world.

And, in my experience, the hard something is, the better it will feel when you finally get it. So, for now I will practice popping up on land and just keep trying. I might not have a lot of talent but I’m pretty sure I’m one of the most determined people out there when I’ve set my mind on something (yip, I’ve been called stubborn on occasion).

I’ll let you know how I get on with my surfing!