Sunday, 12 August 2012

Rediscovering the stoke

...42 years old, not exactly fit but wanting to rediscover the 'stoke'...that's me. I surfed - not great, but I surfed - throughout the 90s on longboards, but I have not been on a surfboard since 1998, when a combination of things meant I packed it in. Even without a family (I am single) demands on time and - particularly - money meant I never got round to replacing the 8'6" longboard I sold, although I do have a bodyboard. Bodyboarding, however, is not the same. Good fun, but not the same so I want to get back into stand-up, dare I say 'proper', surfing.

I've been assured that 42 is not to old to rediscover surfing, with people getting into it for the first time even into their 60s and 70s and with arthritis, which is reassuring! My relatives, however, probably think I am crazy and should act my age - well, bollocks to that! Who says surfing is a kids game?

Why, exactly, do I want to get back into surfing? Well, it's not to look 'cool', as I look like a prat, rather than cool, because I fall off a lot and get wiped out, not that I give a toss about that. No, I want to have fun, maybe get to know some new people, get fit again and remain that way. Added to which, it is great for self esteem, particularly helpful when yours is currently at about the same level as the Earth's core. Also I like being in water and, above all, I love the feeling that surfing brings - that all-important 'stoke'.

I have booked myself a few days down in Newquay in the first week of October and have also arranged a couple of days one-to-one tuition at Newquay Activity Centre to get back into the hang of things. Unfortunately that is still 7 weeks away...working in tourism here on the Isle of Wight, and wanting to avoid the worst crowds means I have to leave it till then. Can't afford a surfboard yet, as my car tax and MOT are due over the next month, so I'll have to content myself with the body board in the meantime, plus swimming, practising pop ups on dry land, etc...also, if I can find a day to do it, when surf is available and I don't have a lot of work on, I'll pop down the road to Dunroamin Beach and Wight Water, it's only five minutes from here but needs a good swell.

I have decided to do a blog about my efforts to rejoin the surfing community, just for a bit of fun. It's called 'Stand Up, Fall Off', because I expect know I'll be doing a lot of that...falling off, that is. Especially falling off.

This TV programme by comedian Justin Lee Collins, who is nearly my age and about as fit, has given me hope - and he's a total beginner! Btw, you can find the rest of the programme (it's in 5 parts) by clicking on the 'Watch on YouTube' link.

So has 'Silver Surf Dude' who is in his 60s. And 'Surfers Over 50'. And this thread, 'Later in life beginners', on Surfing Waves forum is great, everyone either starting surfing for the first time or getting back in the water after an absence.

I have no photos of myself surfing but here is a photo I took of a bloke surfing at Ventnor, in front of the Spyglass Inn, back in January.

Wish me luck - and if you see me in the line up at Compton or Hope Beach please don't give me a hard time! Cheers!