Hello. It’s been a while…
Sadly the absence from blogging wasn’t due to me being super busy and scoring loads of waves. I lost my head for a while, jacked in the freelancing and did a lot of hiding away at home. My self esteem hit the floor and I felt pretty rubbish.
But I’m ok now. And although I didn’t feel like surfing at times, there were some occasions over the summer where I surfed the best waves of my life. My confidence has increased a lot, to the point where as long as I can physically get out back, I’ll have a go on some pretty hefty waves. I’ve made the effort to get out there, so why not push myself?
Recently, I spent a week with Surf Sistas on an intensive surf course (more on that soon). It was exactly what I needed. It challenged me physically and mentally. I met some awesome people and I learned loads. Not just about technique but also forecasting, and which beaches in Cornwall work in different wind and swell directions. Above all I learned a lot about myself and it really got me thinking, especially after feedback from the coaches, and hearing from the other women about their own surfing journeys.
One lady in particular really inspired me. She’s been surfing for 15 years and openly admits to being scared of going out back even when it’s small, so she’s still in the whitewater.
15 years. That’s a long time. But she never ever gives up. That’s some serious resilience and motivation!
There’s someone who goes to surf club who’s also been surfing for 15 years. She’s at exactly the point where I want to be with my surfing. Consistently dropping in on shoulder to head high waves with beautiful style and grace on a longboard. I’m in awe every time I surf with her.
Embrace your journey
The point is, we’re all different. Some progress faster than others. Some start surfing later in life which means the learning curve’s steeper. Others surf overseas a lot and get experience of surfing in other countries. Me, I’m a cold water surfer through and through.
Surfing means different things to us all. Some people don’t surf but they love the lifestyle and watch competitive surfing. Or surf very infrequently. And that’s all fine. They’re no less a surfer than the person who surfs every day.
Our stories and journeys are unique. We are exactly where we’re meant to be and we should embrace it and celebrate the uniqueness of it. You can’t compare your progress to the next surfer. No-one else shares your journey, and that’s something to be truly proud of and excited about.
You see, until that week with Surf Sistas, I had ridiculous expectations about how long it was going to take for me to reach my surf goal. I should know better, I’ve been surfing long enough to realise how painfully slow those millimetres of progress can be. I’ve now lowered those expectations and taken loads of pressure off myself in the process.
So what changed? Being told to lower my expectations (more than once) by one of the coaches firstly. Secondly, hearing Demi’s story, realising it could take years (like 15!) to get to where I want to be and feeling inspired to keep going. Thirdly, knowing what I need to do to improve which is going to take a lot of time and effort. And finally, having to go with the flow during that week. We had really stormy conditions so we had to do a lot of wave hunting. We surfed at different beaches where tides were against us so we didn’t surf as much as we’d hoped. But that’s surfing and mother nature doesn’t deliver just because we want her to. It doesn’t just happen in the UK – I’ve heard of numerous surfers who’ve booked overseas surf camps only to spend a week in tropical paradise with no waves.
That week gave me a totally new perspective on my surfing journey. I’ve started looking at what I have achieved instead of giving myself a hard time for not being where I want to be. Because quite honestly, putting too much pressure on myself and beating myself up is exhausting and has a serious impact on my mental well being.
A few days back, for the first time in a year, I went surfing alone. I’d gone back to feeling ‘kooky’ and intimidated in the line up but thanks to Laura at Surf Sistas who gave me a whole new take on it. I gave it another go. I actually really enjoyed it, even though I only caught 2 waves and nose dived the rest!
So I’m not giving up but I’m going really easy on myself. No more time pressures and I’m going to enjoy the process without getting frustrated.
Everyone’s surf journey is different. Enjoy and embrace yours because it’s truly unique…just like you.