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Have you experienced the rush of a crashing wave? After finding your way to the surface, you wipe the water and hair from your face, only to realizes another is barreling towards you. You strategize in a hastened mindset how you will pass this next wave, and look even further to how you will conquer the set. There is no time to react, with a six foot force rushing towards you. You react, hoping a few tries are enough enlighten your muscle memory. These are the struggles of a new surfer, seemingly daunting, but experientially invigorating. All of this take place in a deceptive environment. It seems peaceful, hearing the waves crash, feeling the spray of salt water, and smelling the saltwater. All of your senses are triggered as you pursue the activity, yet the environment develops into a retreat from reality. This paradox is the appeal to surfing. Because a surfer recognizes the false mindset, and it makes the trip to the beach much sweeter and more meaningful. It challenges your physical and mental abilities, as well as the naive characterization of the ocean as a harmless place of relaxation.
When you first prop your body onto the board, everything is new and unknown. You do not know what to expect, and what you do know, is that you are bewildered. It is a rarely known perspective to look up to a wave rather than at it from a distance, and it amplifies its grandeur. However, that first wave pushes you under and quickly puts everything into perspective. Immediately, you drop that initial disconnect from your brain and muscles. You get past the set and your first victory is won. You feel like you could lay on your board out in the open water and it would be a successful day. But that is not what you are out there to do. With a burst of adrenaline and confidence, you attempt your first wave, then second, and third, wondering if you can pick it up. You spend a few hours out there, muscles exhausted from a novel exercise, but are determined to ride just one wave. It is getting dark, and your fear of failure pushes you even harder towards your goal. The sunset tells you it is time to retire your board for the day and try again tomorrow. But you tell yourself just two more waves.
And it comes, unexpectedly. Your strokes, timing, balance, and a swift wave blossoms into you riding your first wave. The adrenaline of success vibes throughout your whole body, making you forget about sore muscles and cold limbs. The success is short lived, as you make it to that point and realize you have no knowledge of steering or balance on the board or the footing. You fall off, engulfing yourself into the cold, refreshing saltwater. And you emerge again content with the feeling of success, accomplishing a few small steps on the first day. Everything from that moment is enjoyable. You laugh at the difficulty of peeling off your wetsuit and getting sand everywhere, because you are mentally reliving a small moment of glory, and it serves as your tool to motivate.
You return to water each morning and night when the waves are tangible enough to surf. It could be raining, cloudy, windy, or a combination, and the urge does not dissipate. To think you almost passed on the activity because of a natural fear is laughable. No matter how novice you may be, the activity feels more natural than the reasoning against it.