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Do you remember your first wave?

That elusive ‘first-wave-feeling’. There’s a corny rhetoric regarding the magic of that very first wave. Tales of this indescribable feeling, rendering the rider simply ‘hooked’ and gagging for more. Now and forever chasing that feeling, man.

I’m gunna put it out there, I don’t remember the first time I stood up on a wave. Absolutely no recollection of a particular session, on any particular beach, at any moment in time. At times I’ve felt cheated, that I didn’t get that moment of glory which defines many young surfers journey into surfing.

Why didn’t I have this moment? I’m sure I’m not the only one. I rode the wrong board and was blind to the idea of lessons or advice. The process was so manic, yet gradual enough for me not to notice I was actually doing it. All of a sudden, after maybe 3-6 months, I went from getting rag-dolled on every single wave to actually surfing.

Now I can surf. I have no idea how it happened, because I never got the blissful feeling of riding my first wave. I do, however, cherish a very distinct memory of my first wave. No surfboards were involved. I had arrived in Australia 6 days earlier; it was Christmas Day on Bondi Beach (how cliche). I was sardined between the red and yellow flags with the gaggle of merry revellers. The reason unbeknownst, I copied my fellow sardines by diving towards the beach as waves approached. All of a sudden this crazy thing happened. I was, like, pushed through the water, towards the beach, and spun around a bit. When I came up I realised I had travelled some distance. The feeling verged on hilarious; I was shocked, amazed, bemused and a little scared.

Immediately I went to inform my new found friends what had happened. They didn’t seem to care. I didn’t seem to understand that I had, in some fashion, just caught a wave. My lack of understanding exacerbated how out of control I felt and was. I thought it was some freakish, one-off event; my uptake of surfing a few months later was entirely unrelated.

I’m not sure at what point I realised that was, technically, my first wave. It was manic and haphazard yet utterly astounding, symbolic of my process of learning to surf. Learning to surf is not always highlighted by defining moments of glory, but more often an intense rollercoaster which is difficult to comprehend. One moment you’re up, the next you’re down. Half the time you don’t have the foggiest what’s going on, but overall it’s pretty bloody fun.

 

Words by Emily Grimes – check out other stories on her blog: https://grimesy.home.blog/

I still have no idea what’s going on most of the time… it just happens! Pic: Brian Day

 

 

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