I just had the most epic Thursday afternoon filled with surfing and great people but let me start from the beginning.
I was picked up at the McDonald’s pickup point in Observatory by one of Stoked School of Surf’s vans and one of the coolest drivers I’ve ever met, Cavin. We drove to Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg where the waves were just right for beginner surfers like myself.
Putting on my Wetsuit
Now let me tell you, I have never worn a wetsuit before. Putting on a wetsuit was the first challenge of my whole surf lesson experience. When the suit was less than halfway, I wondered if I should give up. Nonetheless, I persisted, and a few minutes later, I was suited up.
Once the suit is on, it feels a bit tight, but when you’re in the water, it becomes more flexible, so don’t worry too much.
After the wetsuit challenge, I joined the other surfing newbies in the group on the beach. Wade let us run across the beach and do some quick warm-up exercises and stretches to help prevent injuries during our lesson. Caution, the suit gets warm.
Once we were warmed up, it was time to practice standing up on the board (luckily just on the sand for the moment). Wade showed us his method of popping up. For me, it was like doing burpees, and my arms quickly got tired after doing a few of these.
After practising the popup, Wade took us through a safety briefing. He explained about the sharks, what the shark flag colours mean, and other safety tips.
Then it was finally time to go into the water!
Carrying Your Board
Now facing the third challenge (after getting the wetsuit on and practising our popups), was carrying my surfboard. Wade showed us two ways to carry our boards. I have short arms, and the wind was strong, so I found that both methods were a bit tricky.
It took me a few tries, but I managed to safely get my board in the water without hurting myself or someone else.
When you see surfers in the movies or on television, they make it look like it’s the most straightforward task in the world. Let me tell you, it’s harder than it seems and your arms WILL turn to jelly after your two-hour lesson.
Standing up on your board in the sand, yeah I can do that. Popping up while on the water is another matter.
My biggest challenge for my entire surfing lesson was timing it just right to get on my board and be ready for the wave. I was either too early, or I was too late, and the wave tumbled me over like I was only a little teddy bear.
I practised on my own as much as I could, but I was glad when it was my turn to get help from Wade. He helped me get on my board and yelled words of encouragement each time the wave sent me on my way.
I guarantee you will hit yourself with your surfboard, you WILL have saltwater everywhere (inside and out), but I promise you’ll make the best memories that will stay with you until you’re old and grey! I absolutely LOVED surfing. Even though I was so bad at it, I had so much fun. Just being in the water and playing around on the board was heaps of fun.
Yeah, you’ll be hit by a few big waves when you’re not looking, but each time you’ll get back up on your board and try again, and each time will be better than the last.
It was especially great how helpful our instructor was and how stoked they were to teach us how to surf. From driving to the beach to being dropped off back at the pickup point, I’ve felt welcome and treated as part of the team.