La Ticla—My first surf trip
I went on my first surf trip after living in Mexico for 2+ years.. and while I can’t believe it took me this long to do one, I realize I probably wasn’t ready until now, anyway. As in my surfing skill was not ready. I wish I could tell you some amazing story of how well I did out there surfing “real” waves for the first time but the truth goes a little more like this:
Day 1— We arrive in the evening and its storming. The waves are huge, messy, and close together. I watch everyone go out into the water, eyeing the lighting striking in the background, and decide to practice yoga in my cabana instead.
Day 2— The waves are just as big, just as close together, but less messy. I can’t not go in, so I zinc up. Intimidated. I make my first attempt to paddle out and get so exhausted I feel the urge to vomit, and turn around and go back in. Discouraged. My friends in the water, watching my struggle, motion to me to try coming in from a different spot. I walk over to where they directed and try again.. with the same result. I witness my mind start to turn on me.
“You’re not good enough to be here.”
“You can’t even get out there, let alone surf.”
“How embarrassing to come all this way and not even get out.”
I can feel the urge to cry bubbling up, and I get out of it’s way. Years ago before I knew what was what I would have judged myself for being weak, or whatever, and allowed that self-judgement to stifled my urge to cry. Not realizing that by not allowing my tears to flow I hold their energy within me instead. (Duh). I felt sorry for myself, I felt embarrassed, I felt frustrated, angry and pathetic. Like it always does, letting it out made me feel better and eventually I got back up—already feeling like I needed more sunscreen from standing at the shore for so long—and tried one last time, this time with success.
I was shaking with fear at the size of the steep waves when I reached my friends, but thoroughly satisfied with myself for making it out. I would have been happy to catch nothing, but I dropped in going left on a wave so big my stomach jumped into my chest, and made the bottom turn before loosing my balance. Good ‘nuff.
Day 3—With lots of interest, I teach yoga class on the grass before the morning session, and have the chance to give back to the amazing people I met. Once surfing, I make it out first try, though just as nauseated with exhaustion. Everyone I’ve met is very supportive, calling me into waves I am too scared to try (as hard as I need to) to catch. I resist sitting in the right place, fearing the steep takeoff, and try unsuccessfully to paddle in from too far out. I don’t catch anything. It gets awkward. I decide to switch it up and paddle over to some other friends sitting on the left, and catch what would be my best wave as soon as I join them. Then another, and another. Finally.
There will be those who read this and are embarrassed for me that I shared this story. Admitting to struggle is against the rules for those who put only their accomplishments out there for others to see.
This is where my yoga practice has helped me so much. I don’t feel bad at all for where I am at, or how far I have to go to be a “good” surfer. I don’t feel bad I only caught a few waves all trip. My point of interest is in the present. I know that if I continue to practice, it will come. There is no need to stress. I enjoy the practicing. It’s a devotion to the process, not the outcome.
While everyone I met in Ticla was humble and supportive, you do encounter a lot of inflated egos in surfing (& other sports). Many a superiority complex develops along with superior skill. As though skill builds a person’s worth or value. As though achieving places you above others. When we really break it down they are achieving to be approved of, to feel good about themselves. They hide their insecurity behind their pride, trying to be special because they feel insufficient. They are addicted to approval until they learn how to feel good about themselves for being nothing but their authentic selves.
The truth is no one is better than anyone. Any time I feel superior to another, I have the opportunity to catch my ego in the act. I am not free until there is no need in me to be special, as I know that what I am is enough.