As the season draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on what’s been an epic first ever surf season for me and Karen.
What a roller coaster of frustration and achievement it has been – this has to be the hardest thing ever for us – we are both a lot older than the average surfer, a lot less fit and the knocks seem harder.
So why do it? Simple really, just catch that first wave and you are hooked. Nothing will be the same again. The sea holds a fascination and I find myself studying surf condition websites (I have even set email alerts!), standing on the terrace with binoculars counting wave periods and watching for breaks….but I am not alone in this as thousands of others do too.
Lots of highlights and low points to dwell on – high points are all catching good waves, standing and getting it right for a brief period, low points are being taken out to sea in a rip tide (poor wave selection and surfing venue), being smashed to bits in the breakers trying to get out pass them, watching Karen get tumbled about and not being able to help her in strong waves.
Then there is the physical side of it; paddling forever to catch a wave or get beyond them for a rest, the mashed feet from rocks and the sheer exhaustion of countless waves smashing you back to shore. After a session, I literally crawl back to the villa and crash. I have never been so tired after an hour of sheer full on physicality.
Karen is getting good, but lacks a bit of confidence and fitness to get beyond the waves, so lots of work to be done on this for next season. It is scary and the waves hurt – fact. But you have to love the wipeout as well as the rides. She says we both have very different ways in which adrenaline affects us – mine is definitely fight – I want to be out there and face the waves, but Karen is definately flight – and would rather sit in the jacuzzi than be out there!
The friendship side of things has to be what makes us keep going too. We have met some amazing people over the last 6 months, all through surfing or surf activities. Lena and Ulli were our neighbours but also our mentors and patient teachers – Ulli describes things so well you just get it, Lena is full of encouragement and optimism. One thing to be sure is that everybody will help you and encourage you – the lineup is full of people just like us who just want to get it right and enjoy.
Friendships go way beyond the surfing too – we have had awesome evenings with lots of people like Marris and Marita from Latvia and a whole bunch of others from all over the place – all here to surf and enjoy life. Fires on the beach, spontaneous music sessions, going to watch films, meals out and just chilling out and chatting all play their part in the surf scene.
For us now, we have to keep training; paddling and pop ups are the two big things we must practice; but also balance and position and general fitness need to be worked on – watching videos and reading books are great ways to see things, but nothing is better than being out in the sea. The sea is a bit warmer now so shortie suits can be used which help.
I am really looking forward to getting a few waves come in leading up to the new season – just to practice on of course – waiting for September / October next year when it all starts again. I have been promised a good few extra lessons at the start of the season to accelerate my learning and skills – at 56 years old I don’t have much time to muck about as I will soon be too old to surf (NEVER!)
I have also managed to catch a few pics of mates surfing (something I can do!), and they have returned the compliment and caught a few of Karen and me too (a very few as most of our time is spent underwater!) so here is a selection of my favorites. Enjoy!