Life is punctuated by profound moments of realisation.
I had one today...
I awoke early in the total blackness of my van, spooning a surfboard and immediately excited for a morning in the sea.
I quickly got dressed, slid open the side door, jumped in the front, fired up the engine and headed for the nearest beach.
When I got there I was met with dejected surfers leaving the car park - the swell we were promised had arrived, but the wind was strong and on-shore, turning the wave into lumpy, unrideable mush.
A couple of miles around the corner at another break was another vision of foam and spray.
With one last chance at redemption, I headed for a more sheltered beach. Finally, I was greeted by the view in this picture... clean waves, a decent swell and a few already in.
Half a dozen or so other surfers on dawn patrol were stood on the grassy hill looking out at the sea so I got out of the car to join them and breathe it all in.
And it was here, at THIS moment, stood in the middle of a group of my peers - exchanging knowing looks and excited grins and giggles - that I realised.
I had put my jeans on inside out.
Fuck. My. Life.
Nothing breaks the ice quite like standing in front of a group of strangers like a twat with your pockets hanging out from the side of your legs like a cocker spaniels ears. .
"If they're laughing now," I thought to myself, "wait until they see me surf." #surfingfail#surfingdevon#epicfail#fml#howtomakefriends#surfing
September 2017, 2 weeks in Ireland: Thought it was going to be easy? Think again. Look at the state of Al's board in this picture. I messed up big time, and I'm trying hard now to regain some courage and pride. Al's been putting me through my paces ever since I arrived. We're up before dawn every morning, meeting in car parks and tearing off in his van to find the best place to train. It didn't take him long to realise that my actual surfing ability was to a professional about a 0/10 and he's been basically giving me one on one coaching trying to get me up to scratch. I think he's quite concerned about how I'm going to handle things when the waves get properly big, and yesterday didn't help much. I followed Al in to a spot that is normally a fairly tame, well known beach break, but when the swell picks up and the current gets going it is a pretty formidable setup. We paddled way down the beach from the other surfers, and the beach turned into a series of tall cliffs and caves extending down the coast for a few miles at least. Al told me to stick close to him and above everything else "Don't go left." I had really been struggling to get into waves this week, mainly because I was making the rookie error of sitting too wide and trying to get on them early to avoid a late drop and a beating. Al was getting loads of good waves and was sitting over in front of a big rock arch where the waves were the biggest. Eventually the sun was getting low and I still hadn't got any. I decided enough was enough and paddled over to be right next to Al. As I arrived he went on an amazing one, and spurred on by his success I turned and paddled to go on the next one. I made it halfway and then falling was let off easy without much of a pounding. I was so pleased I had gone that I only paddled back out a little way before thinking "let's do that again" and went on a wobbly one that hadn't broken on the outside. I could just see Al out of the corner of my eye paddling back towards the beach and I thought I'll just go on this one then follow him in. I windmilled my arms got to my feet. AND WENT LEFT. I realised my mistake immediately and jumped off... (continued in the comments)
Tried surfing for the third time and it was not going to happen. The tide was out and the waves were going in all different directions and not breaking in a consistent manner. I am vastly under educated for this... need to do some serious research to figure out how to time the surf! But silver lining is that it is absolutely gorgeous today!!