Sunday, 11 January 2015

4 Things I Discovered in My Surfing Lesson

See the surfers? They're carefully watching the ocean, observing the sets, waiting for the perfect wave under the watchful eye of their teacher at Sydney's Wanda Beach.

These are no ordinary surf students. That's my 17 year old step son on the left. The back right is my 9 year old son. The guy in the blue is the teacher and smack-bang in the middle? Oh, that's me.

Yep, me. Surfing. Well, trying to.

Husband bought us all a surfing lesson for Christmas. We've all expressed interest in learning to surf over the years and it's now becoming a reality. Sort of.

It took some serious concentration, strenuous effort and some advanced contortionist techniques - that was just to get into the wet-suits. Jumping up and down on the spot, yanking on my full-length steamer I couldn't help but think this was going to be the hardest part of the lesson.

The surf conditions were pretty ordinary with a dumpy shore-break that grew as the lesson went on. Our teacher, an ex pro-surfer named Blake explained that it was far from ideal but he would still be able to get us onto a few waves and we'd hopefully enjoy the experience.

Blake wasn't wrong. He did manage to get us onto the waves, but there's only so much a teacher can do. At some point, the student has to make the commitment to lift the chest off the board, jump to the feet in a wide stance in one swift motion and make a conscious decision on which way to fall off.

Unfortunately, it took me quite a few goes before I got past step one. It seems at the age of 32 (OK, OK, 42. Shut-up.) and with no more than 2 burpees under my belt in the last...ooh... what's it been....8 years?....that jumping quickly up onto my feet on a floating moving board in a split second is really freaking hard.

As the reality of "jump up failure" hits, remembering to not fall face-first into the very shallow white water (remembering we're learning in a shitty shore-break) did not come easily either.

And so it went. Pep-talk from Blake, determined agreement from me, motion, chest lift, attempted stand, face plough, recover, battle and paddle back out. Repeat.

On a positive note, it was a great way to clear the sinuses.

Don't fret, friends, it wasn't all hopeless:

This may or may not be me.

The above image is used for illustration purposes only. Seriously, I did manage to get onto my feet, even if it was without an ounce of grace. If husband have had taken this photo just a little later, I swear I would have looked just like the chick in the other pic. Swear.

After this wave, I decided to quit while I was ahead. You know, go out on a high. That's the high of having conquered that 1 foot wave. I also felt it was highly likely my arms would fall off if I tried to do it just one more time.

Mr 9 had already pulled up. He enjoyed the lesson; he was just ready to dig a hole. Standing on the beach, I had the opportunity to properly watch Mr 17 who didn't seem to have a problem at all with the process. Despite years of his dad encouraging him to take up surfing, this was his first lesson. He nailed it. Pfft.

So what did I take away from the lesson? This:

  1. Wet-suits are well worth the effort. They keep all your bits in place and create the illusion of a flat stomach. They keep you warm, too.
  2. Surfing makes you hurt in unexpected places.
  3. I'm desperate to try it again. 
  4. I might turn professional. 

Thank you, husband.

Have you tried something new lately?

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