I’ve wasted a lot of time putting far too much pressure on my surfing. Wanting to progress and taking it all too seriously. Surfing when I don’t feel like it, trying too many different things, listening to lots of people and then getting totally overwhelmed and not knowing what to do for the best.
The one person I should have listened to most in all of this, is me.
My friend Kelly’s always telling me to do what feels good. It’s a simple concept and inevitably brings more fun and joy than doing things under tension.
It’s time to let go, have fun and stop trying to progress.
And definitely no more goals.
That sounds a bit like I’m giving up. I’m not, I’m just letting go of the reigns and working with what I’ve got…
Firstly, I need to be realistic. I’m 41 and I’ve only been surfing regularly for 2 years. Ok, so I surfed for 3 years before that, but being landlocked meant I surfed every 4-6 weeks for 2 hours…if I was lucky, in generally, pretty crap conditions.
There’s no point me having grand aims of doing cutbacks because I started surfing too late in life. I also don’t want to slog away trying to achieve unrealistic goals. It’s not my idea of fun and I bet it’s not yours either.
What I can do is be grateful for each surf, and thankful that I get to do this on a regular basis. Laugh at my wipeouts, be silly, have a go at some bigger waves for the hell of it and just enjoy the ride!
I’ve had a few lessons recently and the coach decided I was better off on my minimal. I felt I’d progressed more on my longboard and unsurprisingly, whilst I’ve caught some cool waves on the mal, my pop-up has gone to shit. I can’t get into the waves as early, it’s harder to paddle and I much prefer bigger boards.
The coach said I was capable of coming down to a shortboard, and I guess I got sidetracked. I lost sight of my love of longboards and spent a few frustrating months failing to catch as many waves.
Why make life harder for myself? I see so many people caught up in the shortboard scene, just because it’s the done thing to do. Or they think shortboards are cooler, or they have one because they can carry them and duck dive them. Or they’re a measure of success. Then I see those surfers in the line up, paddling like fury and missing loads of waves, constantly, session after session.
Bit like me on my minimal. And it’s super frustrating.
So it’s back to my longboard. Well, a slightly shorter version. Mine is a bit too much for me. The dimensions are all wrong. Thankfully, my favourite and trusted shaper is working away on a new board for me right now. And I can’t wait to surf it!
Surf when you want
Winter’s notoriously hard anyway, let alone throwing yourself in the Atlantic, clad in about 2 stone of rubber when its 3 degrees outside and blowing a howling gale.
Where’s the fun in that?
The message I get constantly from die hard surfers and coaches is ‘get in no matter what.’ Even if it’s just for a whitewater session.
Yes, I recognise that it will help my surf fitness and progression. But I no longer give a damn
I’m lucky. I only work 3 days a week which gives me lots of free time to surf.
But I don’t want to. I have a life. I have a husband who works shifts (and doesn’t surf very much anymore). I want to go for walks, and explore Cornwall, or just catch up with friends over coffee and cake. I want to go the gym. I also want to sit around and watch Netflix or read a book.
I love surfing, but not enough to force myself to go in just for the sake of progression.
So I’m no longer scrolling through Instagram and beating myself up when I see that ‘Sally’ or ‘Demi’ have been surfing and I haven’t and really ‘should’ve’ got in.
It’s all about the fun, remember Kirsty?!
Trust your instincts
I’ve known for months that I’m better off, and in fact, love longboarding. My mal is just too small for me and my longboard’s just a bit too big. In fact, a surf coach recently described it as a beast.
It was a big confidence boost when he told me that I was capable of coming down to something like a 6’6 and surfing in 4-5ft waves. No-one has ever given me such hope before. I really thought at 41 I could at best hope for being able to sort out my pop-up once and for all….some day.
Maybe he was just doing his job and getting me to believe in myself. And I appreciate it. But in my heart, I knew I preferred longer boards. So when I told him I was thinking of getting something in between my mal and a 9ft longboard, he replied ‘well that’s not one thing or another’.
I get it. He’s a shortboard coach. And he tried my longboard and didn’t like it. What I should’ve done is stuck to my guns instead of battling it out on my minimal.
Take advice, by all means, but do what’s right for you. Above all, do what feels good.
Bring on the fun!