I have always loved the water. As a kid, I would pretend I was a mermaid and would be so immersed, both figuratively and literally, in the underwater realm that I would play for hours. The water is a place I feel at peace, allowing the cadence and fluidity to carry through me and transfer into my own movements. The water is where I belong.
Two years ago, when I moved to Tofino, I allowed myself to get lost in surfing. I discovered how much I love being on, as much as in, the water. I was intimidated by the sport –– the waves were so big, the water was so cold, and I wasn’t certain about where I should be on the board –– but I still loved the water.
Surfing was challenging for me. It made me a beginner again. I am an athlete, and every other sport I was involved in, I had been doing for years. Trying a new form of movement in my adult life was daunting, and I was afraid of being a novice.
Nevertheless, I had to give up on the idea that I had to succeed at surfing right away. When I accepted this, I allowed the waves to teach me lessons. I started to simply enjoy the process of paddling out, sitting on my board and admiring my surroundings from my peaceful perch atop the ocean. From there, I slowly began to learn. I learned by watching, and I learned by letting my body feel the motion of the waves. I asked myself, how do these movements work for me, how do I need to respond to become one with the movements and rhythms of the waves.
When I am out on the water, it is the best feeling. I no longer fight to compete with the people around me, or even with myself; I enjoy how the water moves me, how I feel when I am in the water, and the process of surfing itself. To me, there is power in the feeling of pure enjoyment. When I catch a wave and work with it to go as far as I want to cruise, that’s a new kind of win that doesn’t come from competition at all.