Challenge 25 – Learn to Surf. Complete! Kind of…


If there was one challenge I knew I was going to love, it was trying surfing. If I love swimming in a pool (which you now know I do) I like swimming in the sea even more. If I go away and don’t get in the sea, even for ten minutes, I don’t feel like it’s been a real holiday. As a result, surfing is something I have wanted to try for quite a long time, but one of those things I’ve always thought “I’ll do it one day”. As a result of #25at25, on the 17th August that “one day” arrived and Boom (sorry pet – it’s all over now, no more traipsing round after me doing silly things) took the train to Bournemouth for our first ever surfing lesson.

I knew a bit about the reef they’d built into Bournemouth coast and I knew that as a result, it was supposed to be a good place for beginners. After a bit of research, I found Surf Steps and booked us both in for a two hour beginners class (£35 each) on an initially rainy Sunday afternoon. As the rain passed, the sun came out and we started with a few safety basics. Within ten minutes, we were in the water, wading out to waist height, practicing reading the waves, launching ourselves onto the board and riding the surf along to the shore. I, inevitably fell in an awful lot, but I was determined and no matter how many times I found myself under the water with a noseful, I was up and trying again in a few minutes.

Riding that first wave back to the beach was ridiculously exhilarating for such a small achievement.

Gradually, I found myself getting better at judging the waves, riding more and as a result spent more time running back into the water to try again. And again. And again. And again.

After about 30 minutes, the instructors (who were excellent and a LOT of fun) called us back onto the beach for 15 minutes trying out the techniques to get from the board to your feet. Unable to balance on firm ground most days, I was sceptical that this would be a success, but I was having such a brilliant time, I gave it my very best shot. I definitely did not make it to my feet but I somehow scrambled to my knees a few times before promptly nose diving or falling off.

Every time I succeeded and found myself at the shore, I would run through the water as quickly as I could to get back for the next wave, but watching the amazing opportunities I was missing because my legs wouldn’t move quick enough gave me the strangest kind of fomo. I was suffering with wave envy left, right and centre. I just wanted to catch every one. I swear if you could bottle up the feeling I had that day and sell it, you’d make a small fortune.

By the time the two hours wrapped up I was exhausted, euphoric and dizzy with just how much I had enjoyed the two hour session. I was gutted it was over and only wished I’d booked us a morning and an afternoon session, rather than just the afternoon.

I won’t claim to have learned to surf in that two hour session, but I gave it my best shot.

I knew that I would like surfing. I imagined I would probably love it. But I didn’t realise I would love it this much.

When can I go again?

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