Taking up an extreme sport at any age can be intimidating. There is the physical risk involved, the closed sub-culture of the niche activity not to mention the adaptation of mind, body and spirit to an alien pursuit. Throw in the fact that people suddenly become obsessed with the chosen sport and it’s little wonder that the whole idea is overwhelming and begs the question, “Where will I find the time to do this?”
Like anything new there is going to be a steep learning curve involved and yes it is going to require a degree of commitment, but those are just plain old excuses which will soon dissipate a second, in my extreme sport of choice, you ride your first wave!
Learning to surf has to be one of the best choices you can make if you’re at the crossroads of life. Sure you’ve come this far without biting the bug, but really do you want to go to your grave without tasting the sheer elixir that comes from this most compelling of sports?
First up, search the internet for a good surf school located near your closest beach and sign up for a few lessons. With payment processed you are now committed.
Step two, turn up without fear or prejudice. You are about to find you are not the only person your age who has taken this first step. You will be amazed at the amount of people, young and old, from every background, who will be in attendance. All you need to do is listen to the instructor, commit it to memory and then try to put their words into practice out in the water.
Now don’t be put off by the idea your instructor is going to have you out in double overhead barrels as that is patently not the case. All the instructors I know are stoked when people take up the sport so the last thing they want is a group of people leaving the sea nervous wrecks having somehow survived a Teahupo’o like wave.
Instead, they’re going to have you in the shallows taking it nice and steady, paddling out a little and then trying to pop up for your first ride. They will be taking you through the basics so you can get your stance right, find your balance and enjoy your time in the water.
So don’t turn up with any preconceived ideas of being thrown in at the deep end as that’s not how it works.
What is likely to happen is you’ll paddle a bit, pop up a few times and invariably wipe out a lot, but that’s what everyone does and it’s only natural. The real magic happens towards the end of your first, second, third or even fourth session when, frustrated by all the paddling and the gulping of sea water and just minutes from throwing in the towel for good, you spot a small wave coming your way.
You’re duty to bound to give it one last try so you start to paddle, get yourself set, push up from the rails and plant your feet. “Whoa, what’s this?” you ask yourself. “Why it’s amazing, I’m surfing, I’m surfing!” Seconds later you’ll be back in the water, but you won’t care. You’ve ridden your first ride and enjoyed that first taste of true ocean riding freedom. A seed has been sown and soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without this wonder of life.
The first step on that road is to book that first lesson. Go my friend, go!