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16 October 2014
Wales Surfing

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Disco Dizzy

A Learner's Perspective

Read two accounts of learning to surf by Dizzygirl and Shorum...

Dizzygirl Learns To Surf
So, picture the scene - the sun is burning the green grass all around, a young chick (obviously blonde, stunning, in fact she is the figure of a goddess) is driving her bright red sports car, roof down. Her gleaming board is poking out of the back, hair flowing in the breeze behind her. She arrives at her location and as she steps out of her car, heads turn for she is wearing the newest most fashionable Billabong bikini ever seen! She skips to the beach, board under one arm, hair being swept back into place with the other and gracefully she approaches the warm topaz water...Got it? Picturing that scene? Yep? Cool, now you know what was in my mind the day I went surfing but after a reality check...

The clouds were hovering very low, me, freezing cold, heating on full blast in my car and I'm jammed in next to my surf board. I struggle into my wetsuit, very new and nice I might add! As I look down I suddenly realise why most female surfers are stick thin and stunning; the wetsuit does nothing for the figure but never mind. I struggled to the beach with my board under one arm, then the other and back to the other (God, they aren't light are they?) I'm trying my best to look a little cool but I point out to myself there is plenty of time to practice the art of just being a surfer, you learn the lifestyle.

As the murky sea grows closer I feel the droplets of what can only be Great British rain, fab! extra water, just what you need. So, arms aching, hair everywhere, I bend down and attach the leash (I later learn that the leash is my new best friend!) then in I go!

I walk as far as I can, pushing my board at the side of me. I'm jumping over the white water using muscles in my body I never knew I had, then, feeling proud that I'd done so well I look back to find that I have hardly moved! I've been pushed back and back each time and Im nearly in the car park. Carry on I tell myself, whilst struggling to get further out, I look in awe at the ones who have succeeded - they are the Gods, the pros who are actually SURFING - Wow!

Here we go, I hop onto my board, lying there waiting, then I see a wave coming behind me, yep, its good, big actually, very big so what do I do? Paddle? Nope, I jump off my board and let the wave slap me in the face (I could actually hear the wave laughing at me). Ok I tell myself, try again. This time when the wave approaches I just go for it, paddle hard then I get pushed by the wave, I'm flying through the water sooooo fast, this is amazing. I'm lying there enjoying it so much I forget to attempt to stand up, why bother, this feeling is great! After a few turns of the fun 'just lying there' option I think, right, lets have a proper go.

I think new surfers should have L plates on their heads because I was in the sea with the public! you could see an accident just waiting to happen. Children..they see a lovely surfboard, ahhh nice colours, funny shape so they walk towards it, coming closer to get a better look. I'm trying to move away and they just follow me! What I really wanted to say was "Oi Kid, get out of the way before this nice pretty thing is imbedded into your brain!" but no, I just smile and carry on moving away.

Eventually there is the space I need, I'm doing it, I've paddled and have attempted to stand, one knee off, next time I get to two knees - great, halfway there. A good few attempts stop at just two knees up but I'm proud of that. The only disadvantage of the knee thing is I now have a very sore left knee and I can actually see it's bruised with a lump but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. The disheartening thing to a 26 yr old learner is the 7 yr old just whizzing past followed by his 5 yr old mate, how come they can do it?

I'm just sitting there waiting for the next wave when I look to my right and see a man, older than me, early 30's maybe, ahh, he is learning too, he's on his knees, I'm wishing him to stand, come on, oh, he's getting frustrated, putting his head onto his board, never mind mate, next time I mutter to myself then suddenly his head stays on the board but his feet don't! he's..he's.. no way! Damn! He has just attempted a headstand, "Oh My God!" Okay, turn around and forget about him I think to myself (sneaking a peek over my shoulder just to see him ride into the beach, legs in the air!)

Then it happens, I wasn't even concentrating, I was suddenly on two feet, not for long I know but I had actually done it. I then realised that my knee was so sore that I was unable to let it make contact with the board and so went straight to my feet. When I fell off it felt amazing, I had walked on water, what a feeling. I banged my hand on the board on the way down and it hurt but who cares? I stood up! After that first time, I automatically, just in one swift movement (well, not swift, struggled movement really) I got to my feet, eventually travelling all the way to the beach. I did the whole shaking of the arm in the air thing I was so happy. I've actually done it, accomplished it, anyone would have thought I had just won female surfer of the year with the delight on my face. I couldnt wait to get back out there and do it again and again and again.

Time passed and the waves gradually got further and further apart. I got out and struggled back to the car and sat down. Feeling tired, battered, bruised, full of sand and salt, I had never felt so wonderful in my life, it was the best feeling in the world. What else can you do in life when something smacks you in the face time and time again, bruises your body and then you get up laughing and smiling and just feeling grrrrreat? Nothing! Just SURFING.

Shorum's story

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