So I have taken two surfing lessons so far. I have to say, it is easily my new favourite sport. And those who know me know that fitness and sports are big priorities of mine. I would say that snowboarding and hockey were my fave sports prior but now surfing has also topped the list.
Surfing has been on the top of my bucket list for years. I am so happy that Steph was also was dying to try it so that we can learn together ! I definitely needed that extra push because being that I am from Alberta, Canada, I have very little exposure to the ocean and so I have a fear of the ocean and sharks. To top it off, we happened to be watching tv at breakfast this morning and of course the movie "soul surfer " was on. It was literally at the point in the movie where her arm gets bit off so that was in the forefront of my mind as we pulled up for our second surfing lesson. As soon as you are in the waves, you are instantly distracted and focused all at once so you do not have mind space to even think about sharks anymore. Which brings me to my next point.
Some tips regarding surfer etiquette:
1- If you are heading straight for another surfer and you are going to hit them, jump off your board! This is the fastest way to stop your board. I learnt that the hard way, about 2 minutes after being in my second surf lesson with "real waves ". I ran over a sexy Australian mans leg. I felt awful even though he told me it doesn't hurt because I think he was lying about the pain. He reassured me that I should not feel bad because "it is the surfers responsibility to move out of the way ". I personally believe that it is each persons. Our instructor told us after about the jump stop.
2- Prior to entering the waves, especially when it is busy, ensure that you know which way you are to exit. Waves work in circles (the Australian man also explained this to me). Once you hit a wave, weather you exit gracefully or fall, you will end up back in the water. You need to get your board and move out of the way STAT because there will be more surfers coming at you and fast. So for us today, the exit was to the right. So each time you fall, you go far right and then paddle back up. It's also easier to paddle back up when you are on the outside of the circle of the large waves.
Here are some good ideas to prepare before entering the water:
1- Practice getting on and off your board on land. A good surf instructor will know how to explain your center of gravity and balance points. They will also have keen observation skills and they will be able to tell you if you are good or need more practice on land. You start with a larger board and eventually get a smaller one. I don't know when the switch happens but it is sometime after 2 lessons. Ha ha
2- Consider your attire. Wear tight bottoms and a top that has straps over your neck. Yes, I was air headed enough to wear a tube top to my second surf lesson. Also, in Kuta Lombok, the two beaches we have been to so far have both had used surf tops that anyone can access. I can't wait to purchase my own because used also usually means you are wearing someone else's body odour. Gross! I do recommend wearing the surf shirt too even if you have a good bikini. It can get chilly believe it or not and its hard to hide from the sun when you're soaked. The sunscreen just washes off, if you remember to wear it. My ass is so burnt lol.
3- Make sure you are starting at a beginner beach. Don't only trust your instructor, ask the other tourists their opinions prior to entering the lesson. The beach that our instructor took us to the first time was perfect because it has small easy waves and it was easy to touch the ground so you weren't exerting all of your energy paddling. This also means you can focus your energy on your standing skills! The other advantage to this beach is that you can see the beach from shore. So in our case, we knew the waves were small. However, we met some people on our second lesson who were having their first session. This second beach was only accessible by boat. So they wouldn't have known it was not a beginner beach. You just can't get up if you start on big waves like that. Day one was awesome for my confidence! I got up second try and I thought it was even easy. Day two proved to be very challenging and It pretty much deflated any confidence I had.
3- Ask tourists for a reputable surf instructor. Don't try to self teach, it's only going to create frustration and put other surfers at risk because you won't know what you are doing. It's not safe and you will only give yourself bad habits that are hard to untrain.
4- If you know you are going to take surf lessons, get in shape ahead of time. I would recommend focusing on planks, push-ups, yoga (especially warrior flow; if you can't make it to a full yoga class, just do the 5 minutes at home), plyometrics for balance and strength. The best practice, I think is to get your swimming really strong because there is sooooo much paddling in surfing. And when you think you are strong, think again. Hahaha I was doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes 6 x /week and am the fittest I've ever been. And I still feel like a weakling out there. However, I never swim. So that killed me.
5-Find your inner balance. Focus your mind :)
Let me know if you've found this blog entry helpful ! My biggest advice is, don't sweat it if you haven't prepared at all. You can always get back up when you fall and you can always put your top back on if it falls off ;) Practice makes perfect and it will come to you no matter what pace it comes. Take rest days. But most of all, ENJOY it and become one with the ocean.