Life is surfing – surfing is life

Life is surfing – surfing is life

Amanzi magazine surf serenityA surf starts like this: excitement in the bottom of your tummy as you unstrap your surfboard, pull on a damp wetsuit, sunblock, wax and charge into the sea as fast as you can run without getting caught up in your leash!

My life and surfing? Shew! Hard to explain…life and surfing to us surfers, is the same thing….. Life is surfing – surfing is life.
This is always tough to explain to someone who DOESN’T surf. Someone who hasn’t FELT surfing…
Try to FEEL these words that I have gathered here including some from various surfer friends… They have said them with great truth and emotion – all completely from the heart.

My mother suddenly died. I was shattered. At the time, my little girl was surfing through Roxy Surf School. Nicky at Roxy said to me one day, “Your hair always has sea water in it and you don’t wear shoes! You WILL be our first Diva Surfer. You start your first lesson tomorrow!” So! My life changed overnight.

I was swimming fit at the time – but during my first few surf lessons I thought I was going to die! The paddle to the back line was a killer, the shark siren went off often, I was under water for far too long and had bad bruises in the strangest places. But even so, I found myself leaving my bedroom curtain a little bit open at night, so that as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, I could check out the wind direction. Before getting out of bed, I had always worked out where the surf would be!

I met like-minded people deep in the surf and very soon I was part of an awesome group of friends. Things evolved without any planning and today, together this group of magic girls and one guy have a deep bond with the sea. Our ages range from in the 30’s to over 65. We hail from all walks of life. One surfer girl is a new mom, while some are playing moms to teenagers and some are even grannies many times over. The grannies win all the surf comps!! And as much as we try, they friggin’ beat us every time 🙂

Priorities have become: new surf boards, new fins, new wetsuits, wax, sun block, booties, gloves and surf hoody. Girl surf trips are planned to Elands Bay, Cape St Francis, JBay and others.
Whatapps start at 6am with about where we were surfing.
We shout at each other: “GO! PADDLE MAN!!!” “HOW AWESOME WAS THAT WAVE?”
We share wax, towels, sunblock, eggs, pasta, coffee, tears… We share our heartache, our excitement.
“Did I tell you I ordered a new board?” YAY!

amanzi magazine surfing friendsLast year I lost a close, close friend to brain cancer. He didn’t know that he was ill at the time when we had our last breakfast together. Suddenly he put his knife and fork down and said: “Gillian – listen to me! “
I said: “Geez Lex what’s the problem?”
“Listen to me,” he said “don’t ever stop surfing. NEVER stop surfing ok?”
A few weeks later he found out he was terminally ill. I was devastated.
I stood at Muizies and stared at a big swell and a major paddle.
A surfer friend grabbed me by the arm and steered me to my car and said: “Gillian put your wetsuit on, we are going to paddle out to this friggin’ back line – it’s a mother of a paddle and we are going to catch huge mothering bombs for your friend Lex! Let’s DO this!” And we did. We caught unbelievable bombs that day for Lex. That’s what surfing hearts do together. Lex died soon after and every day I write his name in the sand as I put my leash on and I always give him the best wave of the day.

That’s what surfing is. It heals you, it loves you, it makes you smile and belly laugh to the point that you can feel your face changing shape. It makes you forget why you were angry, it makes you tingle, it makes you hug a fellow surfer so much that you fall off your surfboard. It makes you respect the whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and all the other living things in the sea.

A surf starts like this: excitement in the bottom of your tummy as you unstrap your surfboard, pull on a damp wetsuit, sunblock, wax and charge into the sea as fast as you can run without getting caught up in your leash!

Surfing makes you a better person and it gives you life from deep in your soul.

As a fellow surfer said to me: “SURFING IS FOKKEN AWESOME!”

The below are quotes from my fellow surfers on what surfing is for them:

“Day changing, lifesaving, empowering, de-stressing .” K.E
“Feeling of freedom that comes from leaving all the daily bits of life onshore and paddling out to just enjoy the sea and waves. “ T.R
“Meditative, energizing, one gains perspective, life affirming, communing with nature, truly being in the moment” A.P
“The great privilege of surfing with seals and sometimes dolphins around.No cell phones. ” T.R
“In the sea you can choose if you want to chat to a fellow surfer or be alone in your head and heart.” G.S
“Freedom from the land and chains that we carry  and when you are done surfing, it feels like you have been cleansed, healed, reborn.” Marshy
“Addictive.” Marshy
“Useful to get rid of anger…nothing like paddling through some waves to get rid of the issues you may have…. All the way to the back line only to catch a beautiful wave and then to have forgotten why you were actually angry in the first place.” A.O
I like it when people say to me: “Have you been surfing? You look sparkling ” G.S
“I like that there is no class of skill – you can be Kelly Slater and you will STILL be learning. And if your ego is too big the ocean will ground you…” Marshy

But now to all the people reading this – my fellow surfers have also asked you to NOT start surfing – they actually said: “You must FOK off!” because already there is no parking on a good surf day and that I had to remind you of the following with regard to taking up surfing:

It s VERY cold
It is VERY scary to surf amongst kelp
Your mascara runs and looks Kak (other surfers get scared of you)
Surfers can’t wear nail polish
Lots of us have had head cuts, face cuts, ankle cuts – from fins
The Great White Sharks who visit surfers often are BIG- but like REALLY BIG!

So please stick to gym.

Gillian Stubbs

Author: AmanziMag

Promoting and celebrating Aquatic sports, safety and efficiency. Spreading advice, inspiration and news relating to the healthiest sport that has the most potential to educate the many South Africans who still fear water.

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