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I talked a lot of smack before my first attempt at surfing. I figured that because I’m a relatively good snowboarder, I could make the transition with ease. Maggie laughed at me.

The first experience was in June of 2014. There was a huge swell and Scott, Maggie’s dad, took us to Wilderness:

Because I talked such a big game, they paddled out and left me thrashing about on the coral reef. With no idea on the basics of paddling they were certain I needed to be humbled. They were right.

At one point, I was sure that I was breathing my last breaths. I kept getting pounded by waves, lost track of my board, sense of direction, etc. I underestimated the power of the ocean. Maggie’s dad realized the danger I was in and eventually guided me out to the area they had been surfing. Once I graced them with my presence, I proceeded to projectile vomit due to mass ingestion of seawater. The day was a learning-experience, as I painfully swallowed my pride and watched two experienced surfers catch wave after wave. I was a camel in water. The next day I was sore and had developed a third nipple (rash in center of chest) but I insisted that I could eventually conquer my goal of catching a wave. My stubbornness didn’t pay off during the trip and I left a bit demoralized and downtrodden.

Enough time had passed for me to regain a sense of self-confidence. I went into this week’s trip much more humble and aware of the challenge at-hand. I knew I had to respect the ocean and accept whatever came my way. I was less hyper and anxious and filled with humility.

To be able to have the opportunity to just be out there and take in all the natural beauty was worth every lungful of swallowed seawater. Without getting too Zen, I can now appreciate the way the sport reconnects one to Mother Nature. There is a cleansing element which is spiritually rewarding and reinvigorating.


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