Surfing. The Learning Process.
What if I’m not good? Or I fail? Or even worse. Get hurt?
These questions. Create a banter in our mind. Convincing us. With a fully supported story on why the decision we made. Was right. Opting out of a challenge and to resort back to the comfort zone.
But what if it wasn’t. What if it was made out of fear. And not strength.
I was all of 19 years old. A dream opportunity presented itself. Move to Charleston, South Carolina, to work at a waterski and wakeboard school. The day my last semester of my junior year in college ended.
I left Boston. Boarded a plane straight for Charleston.
During this trip. I met a friend who introduced me to surfing. Growing up on a lake in New England. Surfing was always something I wanted to do. But the ocean was a bit of a drive. And I had wakeboarding.
My good friend, one who I still share surf stories with, Ken Hall. Took me out for a surf. Sharing the basics of how to duck dive and paddle into waves. Where I caught a handful of waves here and there.
During that summer I probably surfed 10 waves. But I saw the culture. And it stuck with me.
In my early 30s, over ten years later. Stand up paddleboarding fell into my lap. And I quickly found the love of surfing again. This time standing up.
When I first moved to Southern California, I gave Ken a call. We were now practically neighbors, both leaving in So. Cal. I told him I am buying a surf board.
“It is on!”
But for some reason. I never made that purchase. My next visit down to see Ken, just like old times, he let me borrow a board. And I took it out and scratched at a few waves. Never really catching much.
I would resort back to the comfort zone. Riding my SUP.
As the universe would have it. Last May, I landed my role with Surftech. And we just happen to have a quiver of surfboards that makes most shops jealous. But there was always one problem.
I really couldn’t surf.
Yes, I could fumble for waves on a longboard or a foamie. But surf. Not so much.
My move to Jupiter. Combined with some experiences traveling. Inspired me to explore the world of surfing. Not with a paddle but traditional, on your belly, prone paddling, surfing.
And in January. I finally made that purchase of the surfboard. I meant to buy years ago.
Learning to Surf.
The day after my new board came in. A swell hit. My friend and teammate, Chad Hinkley brought me out for my debut. And it was a huge piece of humble pie. My first attempt to paddle out. Sent me back to the beach as if I forgot to put on sunscreen.
My second attempt successful. But I found myself floundering around the outside chasing every wave. As the day wore on. I paddled a lot. Watched a lot. And surfed none.
The second session. A little better. A few rides. Smaller pieces of humble pie. And a bit of excitement knowing that I can do this.
As the time on the water has grown. My confidence, understanding and ability has followed along. But every time I get a bit overconfident. Mother Nature is there to remind me that her ocean. Is always in charge.
Why I had to learn?
Since my late 20’s, just over ten years ago. I have found myself living outside of my comfort zone. Leaving a career. My hometown. Family. Friends.
Inspiring me to explore a laundry list of adrenaline fueled activities. Such as Telemark skiing, Mountain Bike Racing. Stand Up Paddling. Yoga. Kiteboarding. Fishing. And now surfing.
These activities are not a bucket list, cross them off and move along type of thing. But something bigger. They forge their way into my life. Where I revisit them.
But what does this mean? Why do I have to learn something new?
It is my teacher. My guide. To show me that anything can be overcome. With a bit of work. Dedication. Patience. And confidence.
While surfing has been around my life for the past 20 years. This year. I decided to learn how to surf.
And being a beginner. Has been rewarding. Empowering. Reminding me that we need to learn something new. To grow. Expand. As it is a teacher in life.
This is why I am loving. Learning how to surf.