Monday, 17 August 2015

An analogy on life and surfing

Good day y'all! I've got a sore body and some blood/sand underneath my big toenail, but I can still wiggle my toe and type this blogpost for you. Surf camp was tiring, new, but in a way, quite okay. The place was cosy, like those American movies. Full of wood and casualness. Of course there was a barbecue, but unfortunately no campfire and ghost stories. We had some nicely heated cabins to sleep in, and long picnic tables to have food on. It was an event organised for the exchange students only, so I guess that's why everyone was so open towards each other. Sometimes socializing feels like a cheap tool of survival, but let's not talk about that today.

The cosiness of wood

Let's talk about surfing. I can stand on my board 1 out of 10 times on miniature waves, which I guess is acceptable for a beginner whose ultimate moment of exercising is going downstairs to grab some water. Quite oddly I was reminded of a quote from Batman: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up", I ought to be proud of my own perseverance, because it isn't any fun spending more time getting to the waves than actually surfing on them.

So, what was surfing like?

If you look closely you'll find me there

I walked down the beach with my giant surfboard. It was a lovely day: the sun was shining, my wetsuit fit me perfectly, and the warm sand seemed to feel more comfortable after each step. I learnt how to stand on a imaginary sand-drawn surfboard, thinking: "Aye, this is easy, I'm gonna ace those waves!". Then after listening to two wacky instructors who fit every stereotype of a surfer, I walk closer to the water, just to freeze in the middle of my overconfident stroll.

Literally, freeze. I guess that's what I get for surfing in winter, but oh wells. Once I reached the waist-deep waters, it was fine. But that's where the big waves are, and here's where I had my philosophical epiphany. Since I'm small and light, it doesn't take much physics to understand that the waves will push me back towards the shore as I try to approach them. It reminded me of my life thus far: take 3 steps, be pushed back 6 steps. The waves were like that to me. At one point I just had to pull myself together and bust chest-first into the waves. I still got pushed back by a few waves, but I also managed to go right through a few others. This long long walk to the right wave allowed for quite some time to stare at the clouds and think about life. Unless some wave smacked salt water into my face by not only pushing me back, but also pushing me down. That aside, I could still appreciate the walk towards the waves.

Don't be fooled by the smallness of this picture

But that's just the first part of a long struggle. The success to catching waves is not only your proficiency in surfing, but also your ability to prepare for the waves. In other words: a good starting position and the right timing. You should've seen myself trying to get on my surfboard like a sun-dried seal on land, then being so slow that the wave hit me before settling, or being so clumsy that my surfboard pointed diagonally towards the shore that the waves flipped me over as well. Other times, I was just awful at timing. I'd be lying on my surfboard, waiting ... and waiting ... wondering: "sooooo, where ... is ... my wave". The wave would come, but it would be a mini wave that just pushed me back to the shore some more. It reminded me of the chances I missed due to a bad beginning, and the people I've lost due to a bad timing.

Surfing wasn't only sadness and disappointment, though. The feeling you get when you finally manage to stand on your board is gratifying. It gets better when you manage to stand on it for more than 10 seconds. Everytime I got hit by a wave or got the cramps, I just wanted to head back to the beach and sit there, but I would've hated myself if I did that too much. After all, I went all the way to this camp to try something new. At one point my cramps couldn't hold on anymore, and I was truly getting sick of walking against the waves and drinking salt water. But at least I tried.

Some people would watch the choices I make, and wonder why I'm so silly. They push me this way and that way, not realizing I just don't want to regret. Even if it's just 10 seconds of gratification, at least I can become 80 in the future and assure myself that I tried, that I'm living with no regrets. Sometimes it's not just about reaching the waves, it's everything surrounding it. On my first night at the beach, I looked up to the sky to experience the most amount of stars I've ever seen in my life. I felt like I was caught in a snow globe, except full of stars. The sky and the stars seemed to be warped in a globe. There were a few falling stars which I did not wish on. They fell too fast, like unexpected tears at the corner of an eye.

The second night I wanted to see the stars again, but they weren't there: too cloudy. The night before was the good timing I was talking about, and I am grateful for that. However, the second night was not fruitless either, albeit starless. I just wandered around the beach in the dark, looking for nice shells, with the sound of waves crashing in the distance. The beach is enjoyable when it's just me and the waves. Back at the cabins, I also saw the infamous possum people warned me about. The night before I already spotted one, but I didn't expect to see one again. I managed to take a hazy picture of it. One of the people I got to talk with at camp actually marked me possum-obsessed. Well, I did try to calculate the amount of possums that could fit on the rooftop, trying to fall asleep.

Beware: possums!
I guess I enjoy my alone-time. Give me a camera and something beautiful, and I'll be happy. I know I still make crappy phone-pictures, but I don't mind. To me it's just appreciating the surroundings, but I try not to spam my camera-button because then my intention would backfire. Below you'll find another place I've been enjoying. It was a nice weekend after all. Take a look at the video by Surf Camp Australia if you've got the time.

This is what I'd call serenity

A video of the weekend by Surfcamp Australia

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