Catching Waves

I did it!! I went surfing. That's one check on the bucket list and the first part of my Point Break adventure.

I'm referring to the older 1991 Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. It was one of my favorites as a kid. In short, Reeves plays an FBI agent who searches for bank robbers / surfers. Swayze's character is known as the Buddha surfer who describes riding the big breaks akin to being close to the gods. Yes, I know it sounds hokey, but it was the 90s. As a kid I watched this movie mesmerized by the exhilarating surf and skydiving scenes. I wanted to go surfing and skydiving, later my fear of heights grew, but surfing remained forever a wondrous dream.

The Johnny Tsunami Disney movies were my favorites growing up too. And when I would travel to San Diego, I would just watch the surfers thinking one of these days I will go try it out. It was always "one of these days." Really I was scared. It seemed like such a crazy obscure thing to do, left only for the truly wild at hard.

Surfing ended up on my Vision Board that I created a couple of months ago. Each time I look that surfing image pulls at me. But I still needed some sort of a push.

So when I heard Women on Adventures was planning a surf trip I jumped! That was all I needed. This opportunity knocked right at my door at the perfect time when I was ready to unlock my adventurous side. Plus, I would have a group of fun people to do it with, so I didn't have to go it alone. I was the first one to sign up. 

The weeks leading up to it, I was nervous. I was worried about my neck issues stirring up. I was silly worried about sharks. I scared of drowning. You name it. All sorts of fears came up to try to talk me out of it. But nope my heart wasn't having it. Instead, I practiced swimming so I wouldn't drown. I physically conditioned myself a bit more and brought pain medication and ice packs on the trip for my neck. And I googled shark swim patterns to know for sure how slim the chances were of seeing a shark in August on La Jolla Beach.

Then finally came the day to surf with Surf Diva instructors.

It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. The instructors were great taking us through all the steps. The showed us how to pop up on the board and taught us a bit about how to read the ocean. Then we got into the water.

Boy were those boards heavy. The hardest part truly is walking those big 9 foot boards through the waves, and repeating every time you get knocked off.

Otherwise, it's just a blast!

Once you're going, paddling with the waves at your back you pop up (or try your best at standing up in my case) and it's seconds of mindless bliss. And I mean a second because, if you're me, then you fall. We all cheered each other on the closer we go to standing up, or when a few of actually did. And we laughed at each other when the waves kicked us all the way back to beach and we had to struggle back to the group. 

I never got completely up on the board. I was able to pop up in a low crouch, but not completely up. After the first couple of times I kept overthinking things about where to put my feet "ok next time make sure your front foot is forward more and don't lean so much to the right." The more I thought about it the worse I did. Then my body got tired. For my last wave, I just got up to my knees and rode the wave in that way.

That's all I had for this time and that's totally okay. At least now I know what to expect for next time, how it feels, how to prepare or rather how not to prepare and just do.

As I write out my thoughts for the day I'm sitting on the beach with the other ladies from the WOA group watching surfers. Some of them get up every time, some get up on one wave then fall the next. Other are falling every time. And there are others just floating on their boards and hanging out. I was never trying to be Patrick Swayze's stunt double anyway. And by the way, that movie - NO WAY Keanu Reeves learns how to surf those big waves that quickly. Yes, I knew it was only a movie, but still.

I definitely intend to try it again. I'm already looking up surf camps in California, Costa Rica or wherever.

It's funny. I was so worked up about this, but really it's like testing out my sister's skate board or learning how to ice skate. You won't be amazing the very first time. But once you've tried it, it's no longer this foreign scary obscure concept. It's just a cool activity I can do from now on if I want.

Moving past the fear just opened me up to more of life. Surfing is now another thing I can say I do. 

And my neck - it was a bit sore that day. I was proactive though with medication, stretching and ice wraps. I've already seen my doctor and he says I wasn't really banged up at all. He was expecting a lot worse. So I can keep going and surf more?! He said "Absolutely!" Well doctor's order! :)

Now on to my next adventure! I won't exactly be jumping out of a plane quite yet, I still have this whole terrifying fear of heights, but I am going to try Indoor Skydiving at iFly August 19th with WoA ladies. 

This post was edited slightly from its originally published version on rmjjourney.com