I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later because everyone loses their surf stoke at some point…right? Or is it just me?
That’s right folks. I’ve well and truly lost my surf mojo. It’s taken a hike and it’s somewhere in the wilderness.
That sounds really lazy and hugely ungrateful considering I moved 200 miles largely because of my love of surfing. Surely I should just snap out of it, quit whining and just go surfing.
But anyone who has lost their stoke will know that all the motivational pep talks and attempts at kicks up the backside won’t shift your mindset if you’re feeling totally stuck. Cos at the end of the day, there’s only person that can get you out of the funk….and that’s you.
So what’s my excuse (s)? Well, there’s a whole bunch of them – the weather’s been rubbish, it’s been windy and blown out (which is partly true), it’s too cold, I’m too tired, the cat ate my wetsuit (ok, so that one’s bullshit).
The truth is I take surfing waaay too seriously. I’ve been told this before yet I still can’t take this stupid need away for me to be ‘good’ at something. I’m 40, which I know is way off drawing my pension, but it’s a fact that surfing gets harder as you get older especially if you haven’t been doing it since the age of 2. I honestly believe that I started this thing too late in life to get ‘good/decent/not useless.’ Straight away I’m playing catch-up with my flexibility and fitness. My body won’t do certain things that it could when I was in my 20’s so the odds aren’t hugely stacked in my favour.
It just seems like such a massive mountain to climb to get to where I want to be with it. And it feels like I’m never going to get there.
Drawing inspiration from older pros like Kelly Slater who still shred is not gonna cut it with me. Because they didn’t start surfing 4 years ago. They’ve already got years of surfing experience under their belt. It’s just not realistic inspiration.
The fact is, I’ve taken the defeatist attitude. Now that’s something I’m really good at!
But if I really look in the right places and soul search, I know the stoke is in there. It popped up today when I came across a video of a group of older surfers achieving the exact thing that I want to be able to do. I’m not joking when I said that I was in tears by the end of the video. It reared up again when I read an article that a friend of mine has written about wanting to shortboard at 38. It’s not published yet, so I hope she won’t mind me quoting her:
“If you happen to learn something new that day or catch an amazing ride, then count yourself blessed, but I think the trick is not letting that be the measure of success.”
Cue more tears and a realisation that I’ve been a daft ungrateful idiot.
So there’s hope, because that stoke well and truly pulled on my heart strings, and it hasn’t done that in a while. I’ve still got a few other things to try and while good old Google failed to retrieve any inspiring or believable articles on the subject, I did the thing I always do when I need some surf related help. I reached out to the surf community.
So big thanks to Amber, Tom and err…Tom (there’s two of them) for these ideas that make total sense;
Have a surf lesson
It’s been a long time since I had some one to one coaching. It helped me out of a funk last time so it’s high up on the list. Sometimes we all just need a little confidence booster, and some validation that we’re not a lost cause.
Thanks Tom (1) for reminding me how powerful yoga is for surfing. Apparently it’s improved his surfing immensely. So why did I stop doing it? God knows. My tight hips aren’t going to fix themselves. Better get back on the mat!
Don’t go out in shitty surf
I stood my ground with this over winter and would only surf on a clean day. Then I beat myself up for being too picky and thinking I ‘should’ get in whatever.
Thanks Amber. You’re right. It’s not going to help someone’s who’s bummed on surfing suddenly get all happy about it. By getting pounded and freaked out in big surf on a grey, cold day? No thanks.
Talk to people who understand
Because although you think it’s just you and everyone else is out there fired up and motivated, they’re actually not. I’ve spoken to loads of people recently who’ve admitted they’ve lost the love for whatever reason. And so many of us, wrongly beat ourselves up for it.
Sometimes, you just need to hear that ‘me too.’
Go out on a foamie/longboard
I had a blast on a foamie last year and caught loads of waves on really small days. As Tom (2) pointed out, a bigger floatier board will help get into the wave earlier and will help with getting to my feet a bit quicker. I can drop in, but by the time I’m up, the wave’s often already broken.
Time to dust the longboard off…it’s been a while….
Look up at the sky when you’re sitting out back
By this point in the conversation, Tom 1 had gone all zen on me (he’s cool like that). This simple, but very beautiful piece of advice reminded me to take some time and soak it all in. Because surfing is more than just catching waves. It’s about nature and being surrounded by something that’s truly amazing.
Draw inspiration from people like you
Don’t get me wrong I massively admire the pro’s like Lakey Peterson and Bethany Hamilton. But sometimes I find it hard to draw inspiration from them because they’re younger than me, and have been surfing since they were kids.
So, I’ve been looking towards older women who got into surfing later in life, because that’s a bit more realistic. Take Vikki Burley for example. Wow!
Go on a surf holiday overseas
Although I haven’t flown for years and the thought really scares me, I’ve been getting this really itchy wanderlust feeling just lately to surf warmer waters. It’s not financially viable at the moment so it’s not going to help me get my stoke back right now but it’s something I really really want to do.
Which leads me nicely onto that video that I mentioned earlier. Oh, and if anyone’s got any more thoughts on where to locate my stoke, I’d love to hear from you!