30 Jan Storming 2020 | A note about winter surfing
Has anyone else almost dislocated their fingers trying to prise off a neoprene bootie? Forgotten their hood and braved a brain freeze so intense that you are sure you can feel every hair follicle on the back of your head?
We’re humbled by the little injections of reality and stone-cold sobriety that come with winter surfing. Like when a slither of old seawater flushes through a tiny hole in a neoprene seam you didn’t know had perished and steals your body heat as it spreads. Don’t pretend that you’ve never done a little wee in there to warm back up.
We’re far enough into January now to have surpassed our first big storm (good old Brendo). With a Royal ‘scandal’ and a WW3 scare added to the mix, we had ourselves a new decade that began with a bang.
Luckily, Winter is surfing’s season of bounty. Last week brought a run of stunning groundswells in the UK; energy that had oscillated for miles through deep water and organised into swell lines depending on speed, ready to be paddled into. Just in time for the first Women and Waves weekend of 2020… convenient …
But seriously, surfing is the exact opposite of a warm, dry and cuddly hobby yet it unleashes rushes of serotonin so intense that it has us hopping into a skin-tight wetsuit and immersing our bodies in cold water by choice.
Big board, small board, beginner or pro; it doesn’t matter your ability level. The unconscious result of simply getting in the water is a bucket load of resilience. To surf throughout the bad weather as well as in the good, in messy conditions when there are no discernable swell lines, just wind chop peaks in sheeting rain. Sometimes It’s the satisfaction of the struggle.
Karen Rinaldi sums it up perfectly in her book, It’s Great To Suck At Something; The Unexpected Joy of Wiping Out and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience and the Stuff That Really Matters.
Rinaldi has dedicated 17 years of her life to surfing “without ever coming close to getting good at it”. Because that’s not really the point. It was “a quest to rewire the brain’s sense of failure that stipulates you can’t enjoy failing because failure isn’t productive and therefore shouldn’t feel fulfilling.”
Instead, she explores “sucking” as a “lost art we must reclaim for our health and our sanity.”
The grind of surfing can feel immensely unforgiving; each whitewater push-back like a middle finger held up to your face. But we persevere. Spring is around the corner.
So keep surfing this winter, relish in that runny salty nose. Be brave enough to suck at something. Particularly if that something is surfing.
Keen to know more about our upcoming weekends? Check out our current 2020 dates here or drop us a line and ask a question – HELLO@womenandwavessociety.com – We’d love to hear from you!