BOARDS AND BRUISES – LEARNING TO SURF IN YOUR 40’S

Lisa MurphyADVENTURES, STORIES, UNCATEGORISEDLeave a Comment

Fast forward to 2020.  My learn to surf journey continues.

I have now had a couple of surfing lessons with i Surf and Sun.

I have been heading down to the southern beaches with hubby where waves are great to practise on hiring a board and wetsuit (thanks Salty at Ocean Living Surf School).

Wait for it (drum roll please): I have now got my own board.

So in 2 years am I still hooked since that recklessly awesome trip in Fiji?  Absolutely!

Though I can only manage to fit surfing in the warmer months, it has been a hugely fun journey.  Yes we have thought about relocating to live near a surf beach but alas commuting to work for some reason keeps us from popping our house on the market.

While I am still keeping to the white foaming breaks, I am not heading “out the back” yet but am confident I will get there.  So what have I done to build to getting my own board?

14 months ago, I joined an outdoors strength class – I have not been to a gym in 15 years.  Realising how hard it is to lift oneself up quickly using an upper body that is spaghetti like with no muscle to speak of, I decided I would try and get strong but with no weights or knowledge on how to use them, I really needed some guidance AND some accountability to show up.  Building strength take time, I have to admit my efforts were a bit hit and miss – I would end up so sore I couldn’t move or injure myself.  I am now following my own program 3-4 days a week to be able to “pop” like the pros hehe. I have progressed from needing accountability which is a positive sign.  The motivation to stand up on a surf board is enough to make me do push ups alone.

I also had a couple of surf lessons on sandy beaches rather than the reef 😉   This proved so helpful after lots of “winging it” in the first year.  I was able to work on paddling more once the wave caught the board and also the standing up technique that reassured me its OK not to “pop”.  Standing up has become easier using “chicken wing” method which takes two leg moves to become upright.  It does mean a few bruises, but more about those later.

Over holiday periods, we decided to stay for long weekends by the beach and absolutely thrash ourselves with practise.  Sometimes we spent up to 8 hours at the beach, heading out for 1-2 hours at a time and hopping out to rest, hydrate and eat.  It felt obsessively good.  I have never slept so well.  Or been so sore!  We camped a lot to keep our costs down and to be honest a whole weekend outdoors is so good for the soul – we felt like very earthed people.

Those days being in the water felt like a pure escape.  The ocean does wonders for an overactive or preoccupied mind.  The presence you feel simply becomes on focusing on the movements and rhythms of waves around you.  It feels connective in ways that are hard to explain.  In Hawaii this term is called mana.  The life energy of the ocean (and all things around you) are connected to you through harmonious relationships.  Never does this feel as strong as when you are in the ocean with waves.  Keeping your eye on the waves, never turning your back even in the shallows, choosing when to submerge under and wait for wave that you know holds the energy you need.  Feeling the incredible strength of the current between breaks and the waves themselves, initially overwhelming with power, but when courage takes over and you feel terrified as the wave breaks, you are on the board (and upright), well nothing can beat that feeling.

Hiring boards was costing us (over time) more than buying our own boards.  So after research, reviews and advice from people in the know, we invested in a couple of beginner Mini Mal Mahi Mahi boards in two different sizes so that between us we could swap around and grow in confidence on a “harder to surf” board.

The first day we took them out, we waxed (after Youtubing how to do it, we had only ever surfed on foamies) and used the roof racks to keep the boards attached.  It was great to have the independence to surf in different places now without relying on location that hired out boards.

I also didn’t have a wetsuit to use after usually always hiring those too.  This proved to be where the bruises come in!  My “chicken wing” stand up method means that the inner edges of both my knees make firm contact with the board (no padding) and sometimes if I don’t stand up completely, I just stay in dog position and cruise to practise moving on different angles.  After an hour they were red rash and bruised.

Between us, we have a 7’6 and a 7 foot board.  Both of us found the 7’6 easier to stand up on but the 7 foot board gave us the chance to challenge ourselves – balance is harder on this board so standing up was more satisfying.  The waves were also the perfect amount of energy for us to have some fun.

The day ended with more bruises as I was finned while taking my booties off in the shallows. This bruise came with all the colours of the rainbow 😉

So what’s next?

I am going on a women’s surf camp in March 2020 with Mucha Adventure to Yorke Peninsula and I have my eyes on the list of amazing international surf trips listed with Surf Getaways.     At Big Heart Travel we can assist you with Surf Getaway bookings.

Contact us for more info: + 61 8 7006 5620 during business hours or hello@bigheartadventures.com.au

Helpful Links for Learning to Surf:

Surfing Code – the dos and don’ts

How to wax a board

How to read surf reports/forecasts

Apps for surf forecasts – Swellnet, Surf Check

Surf lessons in South Australia:

Surf Getaways: For women only surf trips to Bali, Vanuatu, Fiji, Japan, Byron Bay, Maldives and more

Mucha Adventure: For women only surf weekends in South Australia

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