I’m gonna start this with a little confession; I used to think surfer girls are a bit arrogant.
Obviously, that was before I actually knew any. And, since I’m being honest, I will also admit that the main reason for feeling that way was probably jealousy.
To me, surfer girls have always been the girls that have it all. They are super cool, athletic, brave, they all manage to look amazing in bikinis and they seem to have this aura of confidence and accomplishment about them.
I would have given a lot to be one of them (still would) but at the same time it always felt completely out of reach. So much so that for the longest time I didn’t even try. Even though I’ve always loved the ocean, and even after I learnt kitesurfing and to surf on my paddle board, surfing continued to feel out of reach. I’m not cool, athletic or confident and I definitely can’t pull off a bikini like they do – I’ll never be a surfer girl.
Hence the jealousy and I guess the unconscious need to decide in my head that surfer girls are a bit arrogant.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!!!!!
I still don’t feel like I can really claim the title ‘surfer girl’ but at least I’m trying now. I’ve got a board and every time I carry it to the water I almost feel like a badass surfer girl – until I get in the water and it takes half an hour just to paddle out through the white wash, all the while feeling like I’m in some kind of washing machine. That’s when reality sets it.
Truth is, learning to surf is hard! You can’t just pick it up in a couple of sessions. It requires persistence. A lot of it! There are so many things you need to figure out just to even be in a position to possibly catch a wave; understand what the right conditions are and where to find them, learn where you should be in the water, learn to read the waves and which ones to paddle for and not to mention finding the (lady) balls to just go for it even when there are 20 other more experienced and more confident surfers in the line-up with you. And even if you manage to be in the right spot at the right time you still need to paddle fast enough, manage to pop up and then find your balance to ride the wave – all the while somehow keeping control of your board so you don’t accidently hit someone on the head.
Learning to surf means being prepared for bruises, saltwater in your lungs and those scary moments when the waves smash you around and you’re not getting back up as quickly as you think you should.
It’s no wonder that surfer girls seem confident and accomplished. Who won’t be once you’ve mastered all of that!
Learning to surf is hard. But I’m FINALLY trying. And I’ve had a few little successes. I’ve caught a few little waves and have even managed to ride a few of them. I have a long way to go, my pop-ups are basically non-existent - the bruises on my knees are prove of that, and the second it’s more than hip-high I’m done…
But I’m FINALLY trying. And one thing is for sure, my opinion about surfer girls could have not been more wrong!
For the last four months I’ve been living in my campervan traveling around New Zealand. I’ve surfed in countless places all over the North Island or New Zealand – if we consider paddling out surfing ;)
I know, I’m a lucky girl, right? Want to know what has been by far the best thing about it?
All the surfer girls I’ve met along the way and the support I’ve gotten from surfer girls everywhere.
First of all, it’s super motivating to see how many surfer girls there are these days. And turns out not all of them are super confident and look like bikini models. Almost everywhere I went there were at least one or two other girls. Many of them were learning as well but many others where super amazing surfers (so inspiring!!). The one thing almost all of them had in common; they were super friendly and supportive.
Every time I would paddle out and there are other girls in the line-up I would get a friendly wave and smile. Often they would come over just to say hi and have a quick chat. The experienced ones would give me tips and sometimes the locals would even share some of their favourite spots with me.
I can’t tell you how much that means to someone like me who is just starting out. A simple wave and smile can be so encouraging and comforting. Knowing that there are friendly people out there who won’t bit your head off if you accidently get in their way – cause let’s face it, I’m not always fully in control of the situation out there, gives you that little extra confidence to just try. And sharing ‘war stories’ with other beginner surfer girls is what keeps you going on tough days.
And it’s not just the support you get from surfer girls out on the water or at the beach. The two surfer girls Facebook groups I’m part of are two of the most supportive and welcoming groups I’ve ever seen. Both the Ultimate Surf Betties and Salty Sisters groups are full of surfer girls, beginners and experts, supporting each other. Girls looking for others to go out with for a session, questions being answered in the most positive ways, tips being shared freely and no judgement is passed ever!
I also know lots of super awesome and friendly surfer guys. I’m friends with some and they’ve been awesome giving me tips on where to go and what conditions to look for. I’ve met many surfer guys in the past few months that have been super supportive and friendly!
But there is nothing like that little wave and smile from another surfer girl out in the line-up, that little chat to encourage each other, that encouraging comment on Facebook from other girls – those who are still struggling as well as those who made it.
So here’s to all the surfer girls. The ones that support and encourage each other. The ones that wave and smile, the ones that laugh with you about each other’s little misshapes, the ones who share tips so openly, the ones that tell you to try again, the ones that know that some days just paddling out is success. The ones that are still learning, the ones that are almost there and the ones that have tamed the ocean. The ones that are confident and brave and the once that are careful and shy.
Thank you for being there. Thank you for letting me be part of your world. Thank you for your encouragement and support. You are all AMAZING!
Turns out learning to surf is really hard. But you make it a little easier and a lot more fun!
Please keep being awesome. Keep supporting each other. Keep having fun out there.
PS: Sorry for thinking you were arrogant in the past ;)