For as long as I can remember, I have had an emotional attachment to the sea which I can’t quite explain. I have watched it from afar for years, marvelling in its beauty and power. Yet until the age of 33, I had not dared to venture into it.
I could swim, yet something about the sea made me nervous. I needed to overcome this if I wanted to tick an item off my bucket list…to book a surf lesson and have a go at surfing.
I had become fascinated with it after numerous holidays in Cornwall. I loved the idea of riding waves and being so close to nature. I loved the surfing culture, the vibe…everything about it. I wanted to be a part of it.
In 2010, having watched from a distance for long enough, I finally booked a surf lesson with KingSurf in Mawgan Porth. I had seen their flyers at the caravan park where we were staying in Mawgan Porth – the beach there also seemed less crowded than the town beaches in Newquay; ideal for me as I was feeling pretty self-conscious and very nervous.
From the moment I booked the surf lesson to the point I arrived to change into my wetsuit, I was welcomed by the most enthusiastic, encouraging and friendly bunch of surfers that I will probably ever meet. The head coach, Pete, had an infectious energy that got our group of about 12 fired up and ready to go, before we had even hit the beach. It really helped to put me at ease.
Pete ran through a safety talk and told us a bit about the beach, before turning our attention to practising our pop-up. I was so focussed on practising and remembering what to do, that when the time came to hit the water, my nerves had faded and I had almost forgotten that I was wary of the sea.
It took a few attempts, but then suddenly, I was on my feet, gliding along and so stoked that I had caught my first wave! I could hear Pete whooping in the background and I will never forget that feeling of absolute joy at what I had achieved. For 2 hours, the group was laughing, smiling, catching waves and having a total ball. I had never seen anything like the energy and enthusiasm and it was down to Pete and his passion for surfing.
It may sound melodramatic, but that surf lesson really changed my life and it has developed into something beyond a tick on my bucket list. Four years after that first surf lesson and I’m still surfing and still totally stoked despite being landlocked. I have had more surf lessons with KingSurf and try and get to the coast as often as possible. For the first time in my life, I have a genuine passion for something; my previous interests and hobbies having fallen by the wayside.
If you have never tried surfing, why not add it to your bucket list and give it a go next time you are by the coast? There are hundreds of surf schools around the UK and it really is the best way to learn. You will be taught by fully qualified instructors who live and breathe surfing and want to share their passion for it with complete beginners, whatever their age – people like you and me. And, with plans to bring surfing inland via artificial waves, surfing is becoming even more accessible, particularly for those of us who are landlocked and live miles from the coast.
So what are you waiting for? Book that lesson now – who knows where it could take you….?
You can follow Kirsty’s progression on her blog Tales of a Landlocked Surfgirl