I have had in my mind for weeks now what I wanted to write in this blog post and so here it is…in all its glorious Technicolor truth….
I DID IT!!!!!! I stood up….not once, not twice, but about 12 times in total – I wasn’t counting in the end, but my other half was. And to top it all off, I was actually riding waves!!! I even managed to turn a couple of times, although purely accidentally!
Last week, me and the other half headed to Mawgan Porth where my surf journey began 3 years ago. The place where I had my first surfing lesson and now, after hard work and determination at the gym, I was treated to a private couple’s class with Pete the head coach at the brilliant Kingsurf.
Feeling tired after the journey from the Midlands, I summoned strength, determination and a resolve of ‘it didn’t matter if I stood or not’ and headed to the beach. Pete ran through the 3 techniques for standing up (straight pop-up, knees and army crawl) and having being told that going onto my knees didn’t matter, I decided to stick to that method for now.
After the first few attempts of trying to stand too quickly and raising my hands up in the air (instead of staying low and keeping the arms low), Pete pushed me onto a wave, I caught it and slowly but surely, stayed low and rode the wave in for about 20-30 metres. I was totally stoked and felt absolutely exhilarated. I was standing and recapturing that magical feeling that I had 3 years previously!!! I turned back to look at Pete and Ste (still standing) and shrieked with joy waving my arms in the air. I had done it!!
When it happened a second time, I thought, cool – wonder if I can beat my record of 3 times from the previous lesson? Imagine my amazement when it happened 4, 5 times, 6 times 7 times….!!! I started to believe that I could actually become a surfer. I cried with happiness and relief because I had done it.
So, what did I learn from the lesson? An incredible amount and I also realised that a lot of the things that I do when landlocked have made a tremendous difference. Here are my surfing mantras (well, they work for me
- Make sure you have the leash on the right foot (I had it on the wrong foot – doh!). Why I thought I was a goofy foot I will never know – Im a regular foot (left foot forward on the board) which makes sense as my left leg was always my strongest when I was dancing
- Stay low and don’t rush to stand up
- Once kneeling (if that’s your preferred method), use your fingertips to almost push up (and keep those arms low!!)
- Enjoy it!!! Even if you wipeout and swallow a gallon of sea water
- Be patient and don’t put pressure on yourself to stand up
- If you are going to surf regularly, get surf fit! I can’t emphasise this enough. The gym has made a huge difference to my stamina and I wasn’t even tired after the 2 hour lesson. 6 months ago, it was a different story
- If your balance isn’t great, use a bosu or indo ball, or, go skateboarding!
- Practise your pop-up on dry land – ok, so this is not technically my mantra, but it has helped my other half loads and he was standing from pop up lots during the lesson. Tip – use a yoga mat and put a piece of masking tape down the centre to mimic the centre line on a surfboard (if you don’t have your own board). It’s something I will be trying once I have built up my upper body strength a bit more
- Have a surf lesson, especially if, like me, you have been having limited or no success at standing up. The instructors can get you back on the right track and it can give you a massive confidence boost when you stand up! The guys at Kingsurf are amazing and I would recommend them every time!
So, I did it, I stood up. And if you read my blog regularly, you will know that I promised myself the amber nectar if I managed to stand up……my own surfboard!!
Find out more about that in my next blog post J