It all started when I went to a surf spot with a group of friends one weekend and stayed there for a couple of days. We were all very excited to learn to surf. (most of us had no experience). When we arrived in the afternoon at the surf resort, there weren’t much waves. So after having lunch, we decided to rest in our room which by the way has a clear view of the beach and the ocean.
At around past 4pm, we noticed the beach getting busier. There were surfing instructors on the beach and they were teaching several learners. It was quite crowded that time so we decided to just watch the guys learn from our room’s balcony. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon chatting about all sorts of things until dinner time when we had a sumptuous dinner, I had some grilled pork belly and had iced margarita.
Before going back to our room, our friend who’s an experienced surfer has shown us different parts of a surfboard and allowed us to experience waxing his board. It was fun to wax a board, and I enjoyed this part a lot.
We got back to our room and it was quite a relaxed evening; we spent time watching a movie before sleeping. As I dozed off, at the back of my mind, I was worried about something… drowning. I was never a good swimmer. I can keep myself afloat but I never tried swimming in deep parts of the ocean. But I kept that fear to myself.
The next morning, we decided it was time to get started if we really wanted to learn to surf. The problem is, it was high tide and there were no waves. So we just had breakfast then walked around the beach. We asked a group of surfing instructors when is the best time that day to learn to surf. We were told it will be better to start lessons around 4 pm, so we paid the instructors to teach us.
We strolled around the area and found a coffee shop. I ordered an iced latte and had some skillet cookie. It was good.
While waiting for 4pm lessons, we decided to rent out some boards and tried to experience paddling and standing up. We’ve observed some of the surfers and tried to mimic them. It was not easy. I never made a single successful attempt to stand up and ride a wave. I often lost my balance and fell. Good thing there was a surf leash tied to my ankle and onto the board, which, by the way, I realized was a floating device and helped keep me afloat. (Silly me, I did not realize the boards were buoyant and would help lessen my chances of drowning.) This has somehow given me some confidence that I can focus on learning to surf and leave my worries about drowning behind.
We had lunch and rested in the afternoon until it was time for our real proper lessons.
At 4 pm, we met our instructors and we were taught about the parts of the board, types of boards, proper positions when paddling, proper way to stand up and the right stance. We were also taught safety and the proper way to fall, which was quite useful later on. (I had no injuries when I fell).
After the introductory lesson on the beach we were brought by our individually assigned instructors to the water to try out riding the waves. My first 45 minutes in the water with my surfing instructor was tough. I kept falling because my feet were not in the right position and I often lost balance. There were times I was too slow to stand up that by the time I stood, there was no longer a wave pushing me forward. I realized too that it was a good work out, I was panting and catching my breath. (That explains why surfers generally have fit bodies)
After 45 minutes of falling and failing, I have become very frustrated. Especially when I saw many of my friends already standing up and riding the waves. I rested and thought to myself, I can’t let the day end without me learning how to even stand up and ride a wave, not to mention, these were just one foot waves.
With sheer determination, I was able to stand up with the proper form and my feet were in the right position on the board, I have established my balance and I was able to ride my first wave successfully. I tried it again for the next 15 minutes and caught 2 more waves successfully. My stance was correct, my legs apart, my knees bent and I was finally riding the wave properly.
I can’t explain the joy I felt inside! I was very proud of myself! And that marked the beginning of my surfing love story. It was an exhilarating experience. And I finally understand why so many have fallen in love with this sport. I will forever remember this very first surfing experience and it’s memory I will always hold dear. The experience has taught me that if you are determined, nothing can stop you from achieving whatever you want in life.
Submitted by Jonathan