It felt like each time I went out in the water, I couldn’t catch a thing or I would nose dive, getting a nice saline rinse up my nose. There was one absolutely gorgeous day and there were a lot of fun waves rolling in. It was argueabley the best day of surf that the North Shore had seen all summer. Yet caught maybe one wave. To add insult to injury, I got a terrible board rash all over my thighs.
You know how when you look forward to something for a long time? And then the actual experience doesn’t quite live up to the hype? That’s kind of how I felt about surfing after those sessions in the water.
It made me question why I was even out in the water. I started to think why bother. I asked myself how I could call myself a surfer and write a blog called Love, Life, Surf when I couldn’t catch a wave. (Yes, I started going down this path very quickly.)
Then I realized that I learned to surf in April 2011. In the course of a little over two years – including knee surgery and rehab – I really had only been in the water a total of 4 weeks…at most. That’s a relatively short period of time to expect to get “good” at a sport like surfing.
Yet, I wasn’t willing to cut myself some slack. It is so much easier to be compassionate with myself with my yoga practice and running. With yoga, I don’t expect to be able to perform an advanced pose right away. I know that it will take months, maybe years, of consistent practice. My body will be ready when it’s ready. I try not to compare to others.
But with surfing? All I seemed to do was compare myself to others.
On one of our last mornings in Hawaii, Ed and I went out to surf at sunrise. I almost didn’t go out because I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth the frustration.
As I sat in the water, I thought about The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which I had been reading the night before. In one part, Patanjali says that the way to achieve eternal peace is by complete surrender. Rather than leading with our ego and focusing on the idea of “I can” do X, Y or Z (and that I’m solely responsible for those actions), we need to surrender. Once we say, “I can’t do anything; it is You,” we rise above nature and become pure and free.
Siting on my surfboard, I found myself repeating, “I place my trust in the Universe. I am where I am.” I said this over and over until it became my mantra in the water. As I repeated it, I tried to let go, to stop forcing my surfing, and to just be.
Then, the waves came, one after the other. I’m not lying. I figured out where to sit in out the back and wait for waves. I could finally paddle into the waves. I remembered to pull my hands back by my ribs as I stood up. I remembered to keep my head up and look where I wanted to go. I could move my feet around on the board and make turns. I could surf.
It felt easy and effortless…mostly.
Thank goodness. I was afraid that I was going to leave Hawaii having soured on surfing which would have been ironic since that’s why we went there in the first place.
And I feel like I can continue writing this blog
Have you every returned to something or tried something new and it didn’t quite live up to the hype? Have I convinced you to try surfing yet?
Read more about our trip to Hawaii:
- 16 Lessons I Learned on Summer Vacation
- Finally Surfing
- Little Surfer Dudes
- Snorkeling in Hawaii
- Learning to Disconnect and Listen
More Ways to Follow Love, Life, Surf