As I step into my wet suit, I feel the breezecaress my face. There is a certain smell when I am at the beach, a luminous saltysmell. Gazing at the ocean, I see glassy waves ready to be ridden. While othersare asleep at 5 a.m., I am up and ready to begin my dawn patrol with my father.
Surfing has always been both motivating and degrading for me. It does notcome easily, and is actually the most difficult sport because of its environment.You must look at the ocean eye to eye before you actually paddle out. Knowledgeis crucial when entering the ocean. My dad taught me how to become one with it,and how to become a surfer. He is the one who picks me up when I fall, and mostimportant, believes in me, which makes me even more motivated to keepsurfing.
There is a certain indescribable exultation about surfing which keepsme coming back for more. Maybe it's the supremacy of the wave which gives me theultimate rush. That one moment when I feel like I am on the top of the world. Orperhaps it's because it releases me from the tension of everyday life. Forwhatever reason, surfing keeps me healthy and balanced mentally and physically.Surfing is a way of life, and lucky for me, I get to share that with the comradeI most adore, my father.
My first time surfing was simultaneously challengingand aggravating. I experienced firsthand that being a novice and a female don'treally make a great combination when learning in a male-dominated environment. AsI was out in the line up with my dad one day, I could feel the testosteroneincrease around me as the intensity of the other surfers' eyes began to focus onme. Petrified, I wanted to leave the ocean as soon as possible. My dad knew I washaving difficulty catching waves, so he talked me through what to do, step bystep. His first advice: paddle away from the others. Then he helped me watch forthe sets to roll in. As soon as I saw sets beginning, I knew it was game time.When daylight finally started to fade, I paddled for a waist high wave, took off,and inclined left, gliding freely with the wave.
I rode the florescent greenface all the way to the beach, jumped off onto the sand, stuck my arms up in theair and yelled "Did you see me, Dad? I was surfing!" I will neverforget that overwhelming moment of joy as I looked out to see my dad with thebiggest grin on his face. That one wave changed my whole perspective on surfingfrom a frustrating battle to an optimistic luminosity.
From then on, I knew Icould achieve anything. Although I was only surfing a waist-high wave, it didn'tmatter. Exploding with exhilaration and excitement; I got right back on my boardand paddled out again.
Surfing has given me the incentive to strive towardanything I set my mind to, even if I have to climb a mountain to do it. I havelearned to surpass any obstacle and my weaknesses really only make me stronger,because now I have a mindset to strive toward anything that may be tough. Surfingis just the beginning for me and has taught me never to fall short in life, andto try anything I think is possible. Surfing is my window of opportunity becauseI know in my heart that in the end rewards will be mine, even if the only realone is internal bliss.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.