It's a little over 2 years since SHE took her first surfing lesson in Maui, Hawaii. SHE stood up on the first wave of the day, on a 12ft longboard on a beautiful, small reef break. SHE remembers cheering, laughing, feeling exhilarated, and SHE couldn't wait to get back out and do it again. That holiday, and surfing, changed life as SHE knew it. Fast forward to 2015 and SHE's had a fair bit of time in the water since then. SHE's been fortunate enough to surf in Bali on a regular basis, always with a local surf instructor who's guided, pushed (literally, onto waves when SHE's feeling a bit tired!), cajoled, and been infinitely patient. SHE's learn't so much from those hours in the water; being out in the ocean seems to put everything else into perspective.
SHE's wiped out pretty badly, had a couple of close encounters with her board (both sustained injuries), surfed waves SHE never thought SHE'd ever dare to, and been challenged on every level both mentally and physically. SHE's learning every single day, but here's what's stood out so far...
- Leave your expectations on the beach. Be open to whatever the ocean has in store for you. If you set yourself up for a 'bad day' then that's pretty much what you're going to have. There's a well known quote that says "the best surfer is the one having the most fun". 2 hands up in the air to that.
- Every day is different. Every day's waves are different. If you head out thinking it will be just like yesterday you could be disappointed, or maybe, just maybe, you'll be surprised and delighted. You can't control the waves, or the conditions, and Mother Nature is a wilful force who changes her mind whenever she wants to. So sit back, relax, and let go. You're not in charge out here.
- Get knocked down, get back up again. Paddle back out, tell yourself 'right here, right now' and go do it all again. Perseverance and persistence will pay off - go and try again, shake yourself off, lose the voice in your head telling you you can't do it, and go and do it anyway.
- If you don't try you'll never know. If you think you can't stand up on a surfboard, you probably can't. If you try, you might just find that you can. It's really not that hard...staying on is the hard part!
- Fear is healthy, panic is deadly. It's okay to be afraid, it's okay to feel you're way outside of your comfort zone. SHE's stood on the beach with her trusty surf instructor, heart pounding, filled with doubt. The more time SHE spends in the water the more SHE's learning to trust herself. SHE knows that to panic is deadly and rolling around in the white water 'doing the laundry' can be very scary. SHE's learnt to relax, and go with it, don't fight it. Know that you're stronger and more capable than you think you are.
SHE's still so new to surfing and learning all the time. It's the best school SHE's ever been to - real life lessons come around every single time SHE's in the water. It's changed the way SHE sees the world. And it's good for the soul.