Wednesday, October 23, 2013
For The Love Of Surfing!
For the Love of Surfing
Written by Jade Wright
The alarm clock jolts you awake during the early hours of the morning, before the golden contrast of colours illuminate the sky with another perfect sunrise. It’s 5AM; your boards’ are strapped to your roof-racks as you drive the silent roads down to the beach. All the while you can’t seem to shake that giddy and excitable feeling stirring inside at the thought that there is something special and new awaiting you down on the shores. Polystyrene cups filled with your frothy garage caffeine fix in hand, you head over the hills and smile at the perfect vision before you. Crisp, fresh waves ready for the taking; the salty spray back of water in the fresh off-shore wind – it’s all too inviting. Suiting up and strapping the leash around your ankle, you make your way down to a sand-dune accompanied with good friends and a bar of wax to share amongst yourselves. You watch the waves, you count the seconds between the breaks; choosing the perfect spot to paddle into. It is all part of the process to get to where you want to be… stealing down the face of a wave.
To be a surfer you need to have patience and loyalty toward the ocean. You’ll wear your heart in your throat at the drops you’ll take. You’ll be consumed with the undying faith you have as you fall, plummeting down, putting all the courage and trust you have into it. It is like falling in love – but better. Kelly Slater once said, “I have felt married to surfing and all it offers at times.”
As a female surfer living in the Garden Route, I am all too familiar with the right-handers dwelling in the comforting swells of Buffelsbaai. I attend the Ross Taylor Surf Competitions in August every year and finally had the guts to compete in 2012. I got owned by a girl of about thirteen, doing all these nifty little tricks that I had never seen or heard of before, but that is one of the beauties of this sport. Age and sex doesn’t matter – if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
I took defeat with pride and respect, smiling admiringly at her as she grinned with pure delight. A salt-encrusted glowing happiness I remember so well when I first cupped my hands as I paddled for an intimidating wave, picked myself up and wobbly cut through the water on my first ever ride.
You learn to move with the rhythm of the ocean, you dance with the flirtatious waves with everything that you have got. Naturally, I am a terrible dancer. On land I have absolutely no co-ordination, but there is something about the ocean that brings everything together. Suddenly I am whole and able – capable of so much more. It connects me, it fills me; it makes me fall even more in love with the sport every time I surrender myself to it. In a quick, fluid movement I become graceful with bended knees, eyes cast forward; aided with but a board and a wave.
Surfing can be your best friend, your one true love. It can be your medicine after a bad day, your natural high. It revitalizes your body and soul; it cleanses your spirit of all negativity. However, surfing is not for the faint hearted. It takes power, commitment and muscle; but most of all, it takes passion. You have to have unconditional love for the waves. It is a love-hate relationship. Sometimes you will get knocked down and feel infuriated, yet at other times you will have the ride of your life. It is something you have to learn to accept for the love of the sport.
“Surfing is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you’ve done it,” said Paul Strauch, a Hawaiian born surfer who has been doing the sport since the age of four.
Having recently come back from backpacking and camping my way through Europe – there was definitely one place that really stood out to me. In between gnawing on ginormous lamb knuckles and attempting to down litres of beer in the famous Hofbrauhaus am Platzl in Munich, I went on a bicycle tour with a company called Mike’s Bike Tours. Right at the end of the bike tour, after passing through the Englischer Garten we came to a river called Eisbach. An artificial wave has been created there and I was lucky enough to experience it first-hand. Surfer’s line up and one at a time they take turns in surfing this never ending wave.
A permanent wave has often been described as the best training ground for a new surfer but I beg to differ. As incredible and as fascinating as it was – nothing quite beats the feel of a natural wave forming around you. There is something about a wave being completely unpredictable that one should learn early on if they want to surf. As a beginner, that is what you need to learn, the unpredictability, to truly appreciate the sport to its true beauty.