Almost five years ago, on a trip of a lifetime down the Pacific Coast Highway in California, I tried surfing for the very first time. I had never been a confident swimmer and had never really swum in the sea before but, as a Beach Boys fan growing up, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try Surfin’ USA.
I was so nervous when we arrived at the beach – convinced I’d spend the whole time falling off my surfboard and choking in great gulps of seawater. It didn’t help when I was presented with a waiver to sign, but my instructor put me at ease and assured me it was purely procedural. With my surfboard tethered to my ankle and a few basic instructions under my belt, we paddled out to sea.
My first try at surfing didn’t end with me being stretchered off to the nearest A&E thankfully(!) but I definitely drank a lot of sea water, my arms ached from paddling and I spent most of my time falling off in some pretty spectacular wipeouts. My instructor even had to come and save me when at one point, my tired arms could paddle no more, and I ended up floating round in circles on my surfboard. It was all part of the fun and I didn’t even remember the mishaps, as I had just had the time of my life! The feeling of catching your very first wave is indescribable, but if I were to put it into words it would be a mixture of adrenaline and pure elation.
I couldn’t believe that I managed to stand up and ride a wave, let alone do it for a second and third time too. My whole body ached but my smile was permanently fixed to my face for days afterwards.
It’s safe to say I definitely caught the surfing bug, and I couldn’t wait to catch my next wave. Unfortunately, living in London meant I had to put the brakes on my surfing hobby, so when I heard about London Girls Surf Club, I signed up immediately for their first group trip to Croyde. I am so glad I did. It was truly an amazing experience, with a great bunch of girls and brilliant instructors who helped me and the other girls to believe in ourselves, and worked with us on our individual goals. I have since had the confidence to surf some pretty crazy (albeit still beginner) waves in Costa Rica and am already planning another surfing trip to the west coast of America.
I would recommend surfing to all women everywhere! There is no feeling in the world like catching a wave. From the moment your instructor shouts ‘PADDLE’ all you need to think about is getting up on that surfboard. It’s incredibly freeing. Every time you ‘pop up’ and ride towards the shore, it feels like the greatest achievement, which is made all the sweeter when you’re high fiving your buddies over a cold beer later.
Find out how to get started with surfing.