In Love With “The Idea Of Surfing”
After years of dreaming, years of aspiring to be “a surfer”… one day I had my brain rewired.
British surfers back in the 70’s and 80’s were pioneers. From Newquay, the UK’s capital of surf, to the perfect, frigid barrels in Thurso, Scotland, all kinds of surfing Brits were finding waves. As they blazed their trails; expressing their freedom and exploring coastlines, they were often misunderstood and outcast. Joe public couldn’t come to terms with what was going on, much less appreciate that guys were out hunting for waves instead of working 9-5 jobs, so surfers were branded abnormal and lazy among other things.
Being a 90s kid, by the time I was exposed to surfing it was a different story. The brave new world of surfing had become firmly mainstream. The bleach-blonde surfer bum was the definition of ‘cool’. There were half a dozen surf mags on the shelves and every other t-shirt was covered in Californian surf prints; surf boards, palm trees, campervans. Along with the rest of my generation, my perception of surfing was lead by the media, brands and fashions, rather than the sport or lifestyle itself. I had a romantic notion of surfing in my head, but that’s all it really was, I was in love with the idea of surfing.
One summer at university I resolved to get my act together and commit to surfing. I bought a used Mini Mal (the best decision I could have made as a beginner surfer) dubbed “Flower”, and headed for Woolacombe, one of North Devon’s best known surf towns. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t do very well, but I did catch my first wave. My first proper wave. A switch was flipped.
I’ve never looked back.
Get in the water and try it. It doesn’t matter what the definitions of surfing or surfers are in your head. One day, if the universe permits, you might end up catching your first proper wave and for that moment nothing else will matter.