Cities and surfing don’t tend to mix.
Born and bred Londoner, I spent many a summer holiday down in Devon but it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I first stepped foot onto a board. Surfing just wasn’t something that was in my vicinity, no scrap that was even on my radar. I had never even contemplated it as something I would try.
Fast forward to Boardmasters 2015, my now, fiancé was entering the mini ramp competition and I found myself with a few hours to kill. At a loose end I wandered down to Fistral beach and booked myself into 3 days of 3 hour 1 – 1 surf lessons. The next morning at 7am I was dragging a very hungover me down to the beach wondering what the hell I had got myself in for, but 15 minutes in and I was hooked. I was flailing around on a foamy like there was no tomorrow, and I never looked back. I had the bug.
Living in the city and surfing is a hard balance to strike. I’m generally working most weeks and then running to the ocean at the weekends. Not being able to go surfing everyday is a constant source of frustration and can be a real struggle to get your surfing to improve. As I didn’t grow up in the ocean I find that the minute I stop albeit it for a week or two, it can be a case of 1 step forward and a 100 steps back. I recently spent a solid month in Sri Lanka surfing 2/3 times a day, but then came back to the city and didn’t manage to get in the water for a month. When I did I felt nervous and scared of something that less than 4 weeks before I had been embracing. It sometimes feels like you’re pushing back through struggles that you’ve already completed previously. Getting your wetsuit on and off is a constant struggle but we’ll save that for another day!
Like fear, it took me a long time to get over my fear of the ocean, it was this complete unknown to me and wiping out on a wave or being held under terrified me. Now it’s all part and parcel of trying to drop in, but if I’m out of the water for more than 2 weeks the fear starts to return and you have to push yourself back through it.
None the less it has not put me off surfing at all, and if anything it pushes me more to enjoy the limited time I do get in the water. I find I put a huge amount of pressure on myself when I am the coast to surf as much as possible and with that I find myself improving bit by bit!
Cities tend to be places of high levels of stress and having surfing has definitely given me some much needed downtime. Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll probably say I’m a crazy workaholic so the surfing lifestyle wasn’t something I would have naturally saw embracing but it is and it’s completely changed who I am and what I find important. I still love working but not as much as I love surfing ha! Watch this space more tales about balancing busy city life and the sea.