It has been four years since I’ve been wanting to try out surfing. Last week, the time has finally come to cross one item off my bucket list as my sister and I surfed in San Juan, La Union in the Philippines. And it all came back to me as a newbie surfer – that is, that feeling of falling in love for the first time.
From Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa where we booked our accommodation for the night, we walked around 1 kilometer to reach the surfing site for beginners. The surfing area was busy with both surfers and swimmers when we arrived at around past 4pm.
As I was waiting for my turn to surf, I was like a girl who felt the thrills of being swooned over by a long-time crush. However, I almost chickened out after seeing big, successive waves from where the surfing instructor (Surfer Dude JP) introduced me the theories to riding the surfboard. How will I ever tackle those waves as a first-timer? Additionally, there were rocks in the surfing area, and the pessimist side of me imagined the worst possible scenarios – hitting my head on the rock, getting cuts and bruises on my feet and legs, dying, name it. Haha! Like falling in love for the first time, I did not know what was in it for me and I wanted to guard my heart, but the sea was so inviting.
I practised onshore prior to putting on my leash but it was a different thing on water! I slipped many times while trying to balance myself and in an hour, I have managed to stand on the surfboard around three times only (for about 3 seconds haha!). We called it a day at 6pm as the authorities do not allow surfing beyond this time. I had so much adrenaline from surfing that I was able to carry my daughter (who came with us to play on the sand) back to Kahuna Resort for almost 1 kilometer very easily!
On first try, I have learned that though trying out surfing takes a lot of guts (well at least for me), it is not as scary as it seems. The big waves are manageable – I have actually enjoyed the splash of waves on my face as they made me feel alive and one with nature. The slips off the surfboard are fun. I was unsuccessful on my very first training session, but I’ve never felt so challenged! I vowed to do better the following day – no excuses!
The following morning, we took a tricycle to reach a different surfing site, that is Montemar. The surfing site is far better than the first one as I felt safer because there were no rocks.
I had another round of training, and though the surfing area is better than the first one, I slipped, lost my balance and fell off the surfboard several times. Surfer Dude JP kept telling me that I was doing well and that falling and sliding were all part of the process. However, after several attempts with no signs of significant improvement, my zeal was slowly converted to frustration. I felt exhaustion as my face was either being constantly splashed by forceful sea waves or being burnt by the heat of the sun, as my arms paddled unceasingly and as my body moved to the “ready” position for the ride. I felt weary as I used all the muscles I did not know I have (lol!). My mind felt tired in trying to control my body.
Surfer Dude JP never failed to remind me that I was doing fine but have to let go. That I have to look straight ahead – never down and never ever on the sides. That I should enjoy, never think too much, never push myself too much. That I have to act quick, without thinking what part of my body to move next. That I have to be confident that I can do it.
And then I had that first beautiful short ride, and another one. Then I finally made it to where he exactly wanted me to jump off from the surfboard. It felt like a first kiss! I felt that electrifying feeling of holding the hands of the person you love for the first time. I had a great sense of fulfillment. I was on cloud nine! 🙂
P.S. (# 1): I have just recovered from body aches but these aches are nothing compared to the wonderful sense of fulfillment I have felt after finally having a nice ride on the surfboard. And yes, I would gladly surf again given the opportunity. I guess I have been bitten by the surf bug!
P.S. (# 2): Surfing gave me several realizations about life. That you can’t stop the “waves” by going against it but you can learn how to “surf” and go smoothly with the flow. That you’ll go places with determination, practice and confidence altogether. That sometimes, beautiful things are only felt by letting go.
Thanks once again, JP, for never giving up on a first-time surfer like me. Fist bump, dude! 👊