My First Ever Surf Was Stupidly Easy
Most surf back-stories seem to start with “I loved the beach as kid”. Well not mine. Not to start with anyway…
I hated the beach when I was younger. I couldn’t stand the sticky suncream, cold water, whipping wind and the sand! Forget about the sand! The harsh grit irritated my chubby fingers and toes and made my mini milk crunchy. I dreaded the drive home, pulling socks over sandy feet. It didn’t take long for ‘the beach’ to creep up my list of least favourite places.
One family holiday, that all changed.
Winding our way from the car park to the beach, I stopped outside a beach shop. You know the ones, tatty window displays boasting disposable cricket sets, wind breaks and all the other plastic seaside stuff. A kids body board had caught my eye. It was budget at best; little more than canvas stretched over compacted polystyrene, but it was perfect.
It’s difficult to say whether it was the idea of bodyboarding or the grotesque red-yellow snake and skull design on the deck that fired my imagination, but I’ll never forget the feeling of owning my first “board”. There was a genuine sense of magic as I strapped on that leash and tramped to the sea, polystyrene in hand. Little did I know how significant that walk really was, every step closer to the water edging me closer to awakening a lifelong passion.
I waded out into the sea lapping at Lusty Glaze, Newquay, ignoring the cold and staring at the incoming waves. “Wait until the wave is about to break”, I remember my Dad shouting as he chased me into the water, early 90’s jeans rolled up to his knees. I waited, turned and jumped. The wave caught my board in the shallows and thundered me towards the beach. My first taste of surf.
Soon I was throwing myself into choice waves, riding tumbling slush into the beach and grinning my little face off. For the first time I tasted the strength of the sea and the force even in knee high white water. I like to think my experience in those first few waves was life changing, even at such a young age. Something occurred, something tangible.
My time in the surf was few and far between but there was a hard-wiring of love and respect for the sea in those early years that’s still with me now. More than that, this was my first glimpse of what my future looked like. It was stupidly easy. I was going to be a surfer. That was that.
- It’s impossibly simple to enjoy surf for the first time. Minimal equipment, basic safety knowledge (or supervision) and ankle high waves are all you need to get your first taste.
- Bodyboards are a great (and cost efficient) way to get kids confident in the water.