Me vs. Neptune

Me and Neptune, we have kind of a history. Ever since a certain incident with a body board, the ground of the see and a bloody belly, I swore to myself, that surfing would never be on my bucket list.
Well, it took me a couple of hours in beautiful surf town Itacare to change my mind on that matter. Before I can even think it properly through, I become a victim of my spontanious travel mood and find myself hearing the words “so see you tomorrow at six o clock” from Filipe, the surf teacher. Yup, six o clock he was not kidding. As most of you know, I am not exactly what you call an early bird and the last time I tried to exercise in the morning it ended badly with me almost vomiting, after a couple of calm yoga movements. Some hours later in bed, I read an article about a shark attacking a woman in costa rica, wonder woman like, she beat the shark with her bare hands and the animal fled. Have to admit, pretty cool story but really NOT helping as once more, irrational fears are circling in my head, including images of sharks and drowned me flowting in the sea (surfboard and I got pulled in by wave, surfboard hit me on the head, subconciously i drowned). To sum it up, the 5 minutes of optimism signing up for the class are followed by hours of not sleeping.

As the alarm rings, the clouds in my head have passed on and with a positive mindset, I walk to the surf school. Can’t wait to give it a try. First I am being handed a wet shirt which is actually really still wet fro, yesterdays surfer, yucks. The other attendants arrive, a french guy and a british/russian couple. All of them have more than two weeks of surf experience but this should be ok, as there are two teachers. As we arrive to the beautiful, paradise like beach, my fears return because the waves are really not the cute kind of baby waves I had in mind for the first lesson, the sea looks pretty rough, even from the beach.

After I learned how to wax the board and the different moves to get up (thank you yoga, is really cobra/ downward facing dog and positioning feet, not so hard) I find my foot tied to the huge longboard fighting against the sea. It is fascinating and intimidating at the same time, to feel the power of the waves (portuguese: ondas). it prooves to be a real struggle to reach the point where we can actually start to do the exercises in the water. Fist I have to try movement nr. one (cobra) riding the wave with my belly on the board. Those 20 seconds are actually fun but then the fight of me and the longboard, versus neptun, the god of the sea, starts again and the waves rip the board out of my hands, the waves break over my head, salty water in the nose. Grab the board, walk on…

After the first five waves on the belly I get to try the first and second step combined and as I fall of the board, I sprain my pinky finger. Really this is enough, I am too scared of the power of the water. Imdecide to quit and explain to Filipe the teacher. He is deeply insulted and all my tries of explaining the term irrational fears fail, so I find myself one more time in the sea, almost peeing my pants as Filipe yells “paddle, paddle, paddle”. I paddle, the wave comes, I hear the words ooonnnneeee, twooo, threeeeesee and there I go, I stand on the board, the wave pushes me towards the beach and the feeling of the balancing is incredible! With a big grin I turn around, fighting my way back to Filipe who holds his thumbs up.

Writing this self centered blog entry (sorry guys) I am still not able to decice if I ever want to surf again: the struggle to get out there really feels like a fight against mother nature, but the feeling on the board is simply amazing. As I keep on processing the thoughts I am starting to wonder if I would be such a passionate snowboarder if there were no ski lifts. I also wonder about wave lifts and how terrible it would be if this kind of invention would destroy the image of the beaches the way ski lifts change the face of our mountains.

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