It was in the year 2019, when I got an opportunity to go for a beach swim with my friends, I had not the slightest clue of it becoming one of the best experiences of my life. An ordinary event turned out to be the most extraordinary milestone of my life.
Bay Of Life
We were at Kovalam beach, Chennai. A friend of mine was in contact with a nearby surf school, Bay of Life Surf School and Ocean Literacy. It is the first surf school in Chennai. The school focuses on oceanic adventure sports especially surfing, stand up paddling and ocean kayaking. My friend invited a trainer from there to help us in getting our way around with surfing. I have always been a passionate swimmer wanting to try new adventures in the water. Surfing was one the sport on my wish list which I tried with so much endearment.
That First step
We had an efficient and a fantastic coach who explained the basics of the sport detailing about the accessories being used to do the same. He introduced the surfboard and the various parts of it to us. Then he illustrated how to get acquainted with it and made us familiar with the different parts of the surfboard. The front tip of the board is called the Nose, it extends to the surface of the board which is called the Deck where the surfer stands. The tail completes the board, the shape of the tail apparently affects the smoothness of the glide. Fins are the rudders stabilizing the board from sinking sideways and, Leash, the cord attached to the surfer for not losing it in case of a fall. The coach then again explained in detail how to tie the leash around the feet, later he illustrated how to lie down and get up on the surfboard.
The trainer discussed how our body posture should be, when to stand, how to catch waves and all the other related details. My enthusiasm grew as he kept on explaining. He showed us how important time coordination is while hovering on the board. I realized the importance of everything happening in a split second when we got into the water for a trial.
Baby Steps in the water.
It was after hours of practicing onshore that we finally decided on getting into the water. We had the vast ocean to our disposal on that pleasant evening. Surfing can only be done when the tides are up and waves are high. Overlooking the sun about to set, we rowed on the surfboard to the depth of the ocean. We had to wait for a bit to catch the waves. Nothing is as beautiful as the sun dropping into the sea. We tried on small waves to understand how to surf but soon realized that the force of the wave is what keeps us aboard. It is the current of the wave which lets us float in the water. As we caught smaller waves the board would sink without reaching a considerable distance to the shore. Even though the waves were not big enough, we had fun playing in the ocean.
Failed Trials, Learned Lessons
Soon the tides grew and we started catching bigger waves, it was a bit of a task to glide with them on the board. It takes a lot of patience and coordination to surf. Many times, the timing was not accurate enough, other times it was hard to maintain the position and gain balance on the board. Catching on the wave, changing the position and balancing on the board should happen at the same time. It took me some time to adapt to this technique. Timing is the key, I must say.
Finally, after what it felt like eons of trials and errors, I caught a huge wave, which I was sure could take me till the shore. A chance to think it through is rare, every second we hesitate to catch the wave is a lost game. That again is a reminder of how important the time coordination is . Well, after getting hold of the wave, I started gliding with it in the lying down position and the surf started picking up speed, I was sure to change the position. I stood up on the board with all my might. Although all this happens in the blink of an eye, the confidence it brings is immense. Moving along with the wave, on top of the board, with the abundance of water beneath is a great feeling. For a second I felt that l was flying over the water. A rather unusual blend of contentment and despair. The glee of a good surf soon turns to gloom when we realize the ecstasy it brings is ephemeral . A trivial 30 seconds anybody would say, Yet, these 30 seconds on the board is absolute bliss. The euphoric feeling remains close to my heart to date.
The fall back.
Another important step that a surfer should keep in mind is falling off the board when nearing the shore. We have to pick a depth which is not shallow enough not to hurt ourselves. The fall in itself should be sidewise covering the head with arms to protect any head injury. The excitement of the first surf kept me going for more. The next time, I caught an even bigger wave. It followed every time. Even though I fell many times, the enthusiasm never falls.
As for my personal advice, I would suggest a surf, only after proper training, for anybody who is an avid water sports lover. One of the must try sports.