I give props for people who already know the sports they love in their early 20s. However for someone like me who spent his entire teenage years indoors, it’s still a struggle to find a footing on which sport will I claim to be the one I fell in love with. But I believe I’m a little bit close to finding out what. I just need to give myself more time.
Recently I just had the opportunity to try surfing for a change. I enrolled myself to this surfing school for an hour and attempt to see where that would take me. Due to some bad weather that was occurring at China, the waves were not in the normal condition. The situation was favorable for professional surfers but for beginners like me who never even tried board skating before – it was a nightmare. I didn’t back out last minute whatsoever. In fact, I enrolled myself for another hour after taking a 30 minute break. That’s how brave I was and cool to be with in terms of adventures.
The first hour was basically me trying to make some big adjustments and figuring out how surfing works. There was a briefing first before my instructor allowed me to surf in the ocean. Part one was introduction of the parts of the surfing board. My instructor was saying a lot of words and pointing into different direction of the surfing board that I just kept nodding and the only thing that I understood was the tail part of the board and that was pretty much it – it was hilarious. Part two was the most important drill because he made me learn how to do the stunts like how to hold on to the board when facing the waves, how to prepare before standing up, how to position my feet when the time’s up to surf. I guess I was proud of myself to be able to surpass the big waves without falling and stand up then balance on the board after 30 minutes. Even though I only made two successful moves in the first hour, I took a pride for the fact that the weather’s bad and it was my first time.
The second hour was redemption. I was starting to believe that people could count me in already since I never fell out of my surfing board even against the scary gigantic waves. I realize that you could only learn a lot of things on the second try, or maybe third if you had the chance. I was starting to see my mistake on the second round – the wrong position of my feet, the direction of my eyes, the body balance. My successful efforts to surf against the waves were tripled. I wish I had more time or days to learn surfing.
Here are the life lesson things I learned through surfing and why surfers are the best people you will ever meet:
- They live in the present.
One major thing my instructor kept telling me was to drop all my thoughts and concentrate on the task. When he yelled “ready” to me, it automatically meant to think nothing and focus on how to get my balance once I stood up. After I failed to surf successfully, I was enormously surprised when he aggressively told me that the reason I kept falling was because I was thinking of something else, that something was bothering me. I knew it wasn’t due to some weird special power he might potentially possess so I confessed that he was right. I was either thinking about my life or I was dreading to hear him yell “go” that was making me nervous.
- They’re goal oriented.
Once I found my balance, the next thing to do was look straight ahead. One more thing that I was failing to do and he kept on reminding me about was the direction of my eyes. At one point he told me I was looking at my feet instead of the direction ahead. I didn’t even know I was staring at my feet. That moment I realize he was paying attention to my learning curve and he was determined to hook me up with surfing.
- They have bum life.
They look relaxed and peaceful and you can never point out any signs of stress on their face. They don’t worry about their time. They just sit out there with their friends waiting for someone who wants to learn how to surf. I envy the way they see life. It kind of feels like you can ask them to describe life in a word and they will answer you “simple” in a heartbeat. I have nothing but love for them.
- They’re undeniably genuinely nice.
To teach dumb beginners in surfing is something I believe one of the hardest jobs in the world. Surfers never lose patience. Regardless of how many times you fail to digest their instructions and keep repeating the same mistake they’re pointing out, they will still try hard to let you know that it’s okay. I have the early presumption that surfing is kind of a physical activity but I turn out to be wrong. It’s 99 percent mental, most of the time it’s all in the mind. You think too much, you fall. You don’t balance, you fall. You don’t look ahead, you fall. It’s as simple as that. My instructor’s kind of great in handling someone like me who has the most troubled mind.
- They’re easy to talk to.
You can ask them about anything surf-related topics or the nearest apartment you can rent in case you want to learn more about surfing and they can have a conversation with you nicely. They will never intimidate you. They will never make you feel stupid. And even though most surfers aren’t college educated, their perception in life and the way they treat people seem like they’re worth more than a college degree.
If I can’t make surfing officially my sports, I might actually go for paddle boarding. I just need to give myself a break and more time.