Once, a long time ago, I tried to learn how to surf.
I must have been about 15. I’d joined a friend and her family on holiday in Cape St. Frances. How I got invited on that holiday, is still not entirely clear.
The mother was disapproving.
She’d recently caught T and I sneaking back home in the middle of the night. From a half price shooters night at Stokers. Smelling of tequila and teenage boys. We were supposed to be at a play rehearsal for a SACS production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Naturally, I was branded the primary instigator. Which, if you know T, is so very far from the truth.
The father was a surfer.
He had a stash of boards and wetsuits in the house. We’d begged him for months to teach us how to surf. We had visions of strutting our dik surfer chick stuff on the beach. Straight out of a Roxy’s ad. Sun bleached hair blowing in the wind, boards under our arms, heading out to beyond the breakers where the cute boys waited for ‘the big one’.
So on our first day, we strutted and posed and then waded and paddled-and quite nearly fekkin’ drowned. Not used to the weight and movement of the board in the water or the slight buoyancy our suits gave us, we were pushed and pulled and dumped and rolled and generally beaten up by Neptune’s little ponies.
But we were young and strong and a bit thick. Finally, we made it to the holy land; that boy-filled calm beyond the breakers. I was determined to look cool. So I flung a leg over to straddle the board-.and ripped my wetsuit from arse to shoulder blade.
Now, this is psychologically scaring for most adults. For a 15 year old girl, it was instant, spontaneous and most certain death.
So I did the only thing I could do. I tried to take the wetsuit off in the water. Which is impossible. Still attached to the board, deep enough in the water to hide, but shallow enough to attempt to stand, I tugged and pulled and yanked and stumbled-.and nearly fekkin’ drowned.
But if you fall off a horse, right?
So when day two dawned, there was Dolce, board under arm, strutting her saltwater girl stuff (sans wetsuit).
It was a gorgeous day. The kind of day when the sea is periwinkle blue, sparkling with sunlight. The cute boys were out in force, most studiously avoiding silly little fluff bunnies like me. I paddled and swam and ducked and paddled again. But didn’t so much as manage to kneel on the board. Bruce’s Beauties weren’t going to submit to my will as quickly as I’d imagined.
So; happy, but exhausted, I thought I’d finish off the day in the tried and tested way; pretending to be a cool wave ridin’ chick.
I spotted T up the beach, chatting to some laid back, baggie..um, I mean boardshorts wearing boys and I thought I’d jog over to join her. So I waved up to catch her attention and confident that the whole crowd was looking, strutted up the beach, dumped the board and set off at a brisk bounce to join her-.and forget the fekkin’ board was still attached to my ankle.
The skegs dug in. Dolce went arse over elbow into a gorgeous slo-mo nose dive, face first straight into the sand. Beeeeooootiful. And stood up to the whoops and applause of the whole damn beach-and a lovely sand graze from nose to chin.
Surfing 2: Dolce 0
And that’s when I thought; maybe surfing’s more of a spectator sport.