Learning to surf is like being the fat kid. Not because you’re the worst at the sport but because you always look up to the popular kids.
In surfing it is so hard to look beyond the rippers on 5ft boards tearing up and down a 4ft wave wondering how the bloody hell did they ever get so good? …through snarling teeth and with a wetsuit wedged up your butt.
They know all the other surfers on the block, have the coolest van, make everything look easy and eat burgers without an inch of fat on their body!
I’m still the jealous fat kid but I presume those really good surfers we look up to, have just put in many years of practice and perseverance.
Understandably though, it is demotivating letting waves go underneath you because your paddle isn’t strong enough or just not getting to your feet quick enough to catch the unbroken wave. Every minute out in the cold, murky, green ocean of the UK you’re getting better in strength, knowledge and skill. Keep at it…
Here are my top five tips for not being a jealous fat kid:
- There are lots of people who can surf. There are lots of people learning to surf. There are also a lot people sat on their butt stuffing pizza in their face. You’re much cooler than the pizza-stuffers because you’re out in the sea giving it a go!
- Look around you. No, not at that 12 year old kid running into the icy cold sea with his tiny board like it’s a summer’s day. No, we all hate him and his smug face. Take notice of the thick longboards, the funboards and the foamies. They are there and they’re all surfers and they’re all going through the same struggle. Make friends!
- Talking about making friends, don’t be afraid to talk to the locals. Ask where the best spot is for beginners, what the seabed is like and any dangers to be wary of. Keep communicating and soon you’ll know the locals like mates and don’t be afraid to ask for tips and feedback. Then take them for a pint to show your appreciation.
- It’s not a fashion show. Don’t get a shortboard and a £500 wetsuit thinking it’s easy and you’ll pick it up. You won’t look like a lemon with a big board and an ill fitting wetsuit. Surfers will give you respect for enjoying what they enjoy. Just don’t drop in on them and bonk them on the butt with your foamie, give them their space and they’ll respect you… well, that’s how it works down here in southern UK, but we’re all overly polite and drink tea out of china cups, rah rah rah.
- Just have fun! Wow, cliché cheesy truth. It’s true though, it’s bloody hard getting out at the weekends, waiting for the right conditions and pulling on a damp wetsuit in 1 degrees. Inevitably, though, once you’re in there, whether you just paddle about for an hour or surf whitewash for two hours, it’s an endorphin release and will put a smile on your face. It’s a mini world with no phones where strangers look out for each other and all feel the same short burst of releasing daily stresses.
Don’t beat yourself up, being the fat kid is fun! I absolute love seeing the pictures my mum has taken (not helping my street cred) while I’ve been flapping in the whitewash arse-over-tit. It’s hilariously funny and you have to embrace looking gross, bright red and fat. Share your learning to surf photos with me and high five to being crap at surfing!
Hell yeah, bruh, radical dude, free spirit, peace and love, hug a tree, one with the ocean.
Words and images Charlotte Brimstone