Surfing is one of those things that looks so easy and fun. The problem is that it becomes difficult and frustrating very quickly. If you aren’t fit, and I don’t just mean swimming fit, I mean even if you are generally out of cardiovascular shape, it is ridiculously tiring, and can become quite dangerous.
I tried it once on holiday in my teenage years. I was a holiday body boarder, as we lived in the city and would venture to the coast for our holidays. So being out in the water was not a problem. I considered myself an excellent swimmer , so I gave it a go, and being young, I had quite a good fitness level. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was mainly balance. Now that I am older, the problem list has grown! It includes balance, fitness, reading waves, timing the waves and what kit to have.
So I decided to try a local surf school, and not wanting to suffer alone, I roped in two mates to come with me. Luckily they both had urges to try it so I was in good company. And for 70 of New Zealand’s finest dollars we could get 2 hours with instructors on land and in the water, as well as the use of a board and a wetsuit. SWEET AS – as they say in New Zealand.
The lesson starts out with everybody introducing themselves and what level they are at in their surfing journey. Most people on the day were beginners, with a few back for a second time. Then we got a run down on how to stand on the board, which was a case of everybody lying on their tummies, then practicing popping up with the focus on leg movement and foot position. Passes by found this quite amusing, but hey, you got to start somewhere. I found myself feeling like Keanu Reeves in the movie POINT BREAK, learning how to surf on the beach and just being mocked about how useless he is. Great movie by the way if you like old school movies.
From there we moved down to the beach, where we learned a bit about rip tides and keeping markers on the beach. Just being aware of where you are in the water and what’s going on around you. Another few practice pop ups on the beach and off we went to the water.
Now I usually set high standards for myself when I try things, and I aim to try and get things right as quickly as possible. But I was quite surprised that it took me only 4 attempts to ride a wave. Don’t get me wrong, its just white water waves, but still. Some of the other people there weren’t getting up at all. And the feeling is quite incredible. Most of the credit must go to the surf board though. The 9’4″ soft board made things a lot easier. And this is where a lot of people go wrong. They want to surf and look cool by using a short board, but that only makes it so much more difficult. Do your research and nearly everybody says to start on the long boards to build your confidence. And it works.
Needless to say the rest of our paid time went by too quickly. Before we knew it we were being called out the water and told to make our way back. The crazy chatter and natural high that we were on is an amazing feeling. And that’s what I love, that “BUZZ” feeling. A mix of adrenaline and accomplishment. A natural high that leaves you longing for more. And so we went back two weeks later. This time to rent a board and try out what we learned.
Sadly the limited knowledge we currently have allowed us to have a bad day. The waves were very choppy and a massive side wash made life rather hard. But I managed to get a few rides. But it was exhausting, and in a way demoralizing, but one bad day cant be allowed to put you off. In any sport or activity, you are going to have shitty days, but you cant just give up. And I wont. Well if you have read my past blog, I’m in a leg cast so as soon as I’m able, I will be back in the water.
My advice if you want to give surfing a go, go the surf school route, even if its just once, its really worth it. And use social media for tips and different opinions. I did just that and found I was way more confident at my first lesson, just because some knowledge is better than none.
If you are in New Zealand and in the Auckland region, check out https://muriwaisurfschool.co.nz/ they were really helpful and accommodating. And don’t give up on your dreams. Anything is possible, just believe in yourself. No regrets.
Regret the things you didn’t do rather than those you didI don’t know who said it