When I was younger, I had this irrational fear of the water. I still don’t know how I got it; But traveling and falling in love with beaches and marine life made me want to battle that fear. Sadly though, my anxiety as an adult kept a part of that fear alive.
As much as I love beach-hopping now, I honestly can’t thread water. Yes, I can swim from point A to B and go floating for hours but the moment I move to a deeper end of the sea, my heart starts pumping like crazy. MY FEET NEEDS TO KNOW THERE’S GROUND BELOW.
This is the reason why I avoided surfing. ‘There is no way I would go in the middle of the ocean, tied to a board that’s twice my size, only to ride waves I know nothing about’ —at least that’s what I thought.
Kuya Nanding, our local guide during our stay in Siargao, MADE me surf. He gave me a really special gift and in return, I felt it was only right that I allow him to teach me. You see, locals of the island take pride in surfing. They will put all their efforts into teaching you and will take it to heart if you don’t have a good time.
So what exactly happened during my sesh? It started with basic lessons on the shore. Kuya showed me how to lift myself and properly stand on the board. My legs were shaking the whole time but there was no going back.
Then, there I was, face down on the board while my ‘teacher’ pulls me where the waves are. All I could tell myself was “don’t fall.”
I could feel it, the water was playful now. In my ear I heard Kuya talking fast, “if I tell you to stand, rise and find your balance. Do it like we practiced on the shore. I told you to leave your fears before touching the water, now here we go!” Then he pushed my board in time to catch a small wave. I heard him scream “STAAAAND!” I had no time to think, I was moving fast and I needed to move my arms and land on my legs.. AND. I. DID!
The first time I tried surfing, I stood on the board and managed to balance myself (mostly out of fear). Kuya laughed. He accused me of lying. “You do know how to surf! You lied about being scared! C’mon, you were able to stand on your first try!”
I think I forgot to tell him that I’m also into snowboarding. I guess whatever sense of balance I had was probably from what my legs already know. Thank goodness!
The first try was such a success I decided to do it again. In fact, I ended up having so much fun, we played out there around an hour.
There were failed tries where I wasn’t able to rise at all after trying to catch a bigger wave. There were pretentious tries where I thought I could cooly steer my board to a direction I want only to fall off of it. There were also tiring times where I opted to paddle myself but lost all my energy before I could reach a good spot.
All in all it was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve had in my travels so far. I will surf again if I get the chance. Still with the help of a guide, of course.
Now I have to say this before I end my story. Kuya Nanding also offered to teach me how to thread water. He was so passionate about it. He knew I wanted to but anxiety got the better of me in the end. I promised him I’ll try again next time.
I don’t think there’s anything to learn here. It was just a long story-telling blog. Lol. If I may say so tho, go out there and face your fears. You never know, it might actually be fun!
Bucket List: “Surfing”