Success Is Mine!!

Part One and Part Two in case you didn’t read it.

So I got a crash course in how to surf like a pro!! Now to show those waves in Waikiki what’s up. I thought I had figured it all out but you know what they say. “When we make plans, God laughs”. Truer words never spoken.

I managed to get myself on the board and started padding towards the waves. Within a few minutes, I’m already tired. I had no idea how hard it would be! Those surfer people make it look so easy! Then again, they’ve been at this for waaaay longer than me so I felt better. Despite this little consolation, I’m still faced with the task of getting my butt over to where my instructor is.

Huffing and puffing, I finally made it over. Big Mike turned me around, found a wave for me, gave me a huge push and started screaming at me.

“PADDLE!! PADDLE WITH BOTH HANDS!! NOW NOW NOW!!!”

So I did.

“KNEES UP!! KNEES UP!!! COME ON, CALIFORNIA!! KNEES UP!!”

I bunny hopped, scooted my knees to my hands which had a death grip on my rails. Then I pulled myself up to one knee.

At this point, I’m seriously freaking out in my head. I’m so scared, I’ve forgotten my name and I had no idea who this California person was…until I realized he was yelling at me. Oh boy.

“STAND UP!!! STAND UP NOW!! COME ON, YOU CAN DO IT!! STAND UP!!

I don’t know how I did it but I got to my feet. SUCCESS IS MINE!!!!!

…for all of like 0.002 seconds before I epically wiped out.

I remembered to put my hands in front of and over my head to protect myself (safety first, man) and then I came up sputtering and frantically making sure I was still covered by my bikini.

After I managed to get back on my board and to where Mike was (this took about 5 minutes), he told me he was very proud of me for getting as far as I had and then he told me what I had done wrong on my first time attempting to surf.

It turns out I had locked my knees and I was staring at the ocean flying by underneath my feet.

You see, your body will go wherever it is your eyes are pointing. If you’re looking at the ocean, you’re gonna go into the ocean. If you’re looking at the beach (or like Big Mike liked to yell at me “LOOK AT THE BOYS ON THE BEACH, BONNIE!! LOOK AT THE BOYS ON THE BEACH!!”), then that’s where you’re gonna go.

I wish he had said “LOOK TOWARDS THE BEACH” because when I’m saying “Hail Mary” as fast as I possibly can in my head because I’m functioning on a Level 3 Epic Freak Out, the last thing on my mind is to scour the landscape for boys.

It took about the entire hour long lesson but I finally managed to catch a wave.

I don’t care if it was the smallest one Big Mike was able to find for me.

I don’t care if I didn’t manage to gracefully dismount back to a sitting position on my board.

I don’t care if I fell butt first back into the ocean after screaming “OMFG!! I STOOD UP” right before I got a mouthful of seawater.


Not exactly what I looked like but this was me in my head.

All I cared about was that I stood up for all of 5 seconds. That, to me, is success.

I now know why surfers have sinewy arms and killer abs.

Pulling yourself through the water, into a kneeling position before standing, into a push up position when you’re about to crash head first into a wave while on a damn surfboard means you’re gonna need illegal guns of the upper arm variety. Carrying that insane piece of wood around OUTSIDE of the water also requires killer upper body strength…which is exactly what I lack.

Abs of steel are necessary for maintaining your balance when you’re riding a body of water with a mind of its own.

The reason why I say you want to go with Big Mike? He never made me feel stupid for all the times I ate it. He never made me feel bad for not being able to stand up longer than a few seconds. He had the same amount of patience Gandhi possessed when trying to teach me how to do something that is second nature to him.

Granted, I’ll never know what was going on through his mind but what matters to me is that he never failed to give me words of encouragement and to tell me that success come with thinking positive. Negative thinking equals negative results.

He also never gave up on me. Yeah, I paid for my lesson but so what? There are teachers who take your money and all you see after is the back of your head. Big Mike never did that to me.

You know what else I learned from my first time surfing that applies to life?

Falling Down Is Part Of Getting Up

I’m gonna fall down. A lot. No one was born a professional at what they do. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, hard knocks and tears to get any where near the top. It also takes time and dedication.

You Always Have A Choice

There were times when I was thinking “Wtf am I doing out here….I don’t belong out here” when I got knocked off yet again and I’m gulping down seawater when I came up for air. I’d look at the beach and all the people happily sitting their butts down on the sand while mine just took another beating from my board, coral and ocean. I’d want to be where they were.

But every time I fell and started feeling bad for myself, I looked at all the people flying past me on their boards and I’d tell myself “I can do that too”.

And so I dragged myself back on that board for another round of getting my ass handed back to me.

Never Give Up

It would’ve been really easy to throw in the towel (and surfboard) the first few times I failed. It wouldn’t have mattered either way to Big Mike because I had already paid. But you know what? It would matter to me because I gave up.

This went beyond just a mere lesson in surfing for me. This was about deciding to do something and seeing it through. Everyone can give up and walk away. That’s the easy part. Big Mike saw how tired I was from getting my butt handed back to me time and time again. He saw how exhausted and unprepared I was for this lesson in how hard I was breathing. He then decided to test me.

“Bonnie. I see how hard you’re trying and you’re getting really good at standing up all by yourself. But if you’re too tired and if you think you can’t do this anymore, you can just go back to the beach”.

But I made a decision.

I fell down. A lot. In fact, I fell down every single time I tried to stand up. Hell, I even fell off when I was just laying down on the board. So what. I can get back up. And so I did.

I couldn’t paddle my way back out in the ocean so I pulled my board next to me while I doggedly stomped on sharp rocks to get to where I had to go. Guess what? I made it out there every time.

My arms hurt so bad, my muscles were screaming in pain, I ached in ways I didn’t know I could possibly feel in such a short period time and I didn’t know if I could pull myself up on that f**king board one more time…but I did.

And you know what? That one tiny wave I caught for that brief period of time when I wobbled this way, weebled that way but managed to keep my balance on that f**king wave I caught?

Those were some of the sweetest seconds in my life. And when I fell off that board yet again? I didn’t consider it falling down. I considered a victory belly flop.

And then I paddled my way out back into that ocean with jelly arms so that I could try to catch one more wave before my hour was up.

You know what else I’ll never forget from this lesson in what was supposed to be on how to surf?

1. You’ll go wherever it is you set your sights, be it the beach on the horizon, below you or those boys on the beach.

2. You can’t control everything. Big Mike kept stressing that I think too much. Sometimes that can be the enemy. Sometimes you just gotta let go and relax.

3. Bikinis are not good when learning how to surf.

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  1. […] that’s what Big Mike was telling me when I was learning how to surf. I think I get it now, Big Mike!! ….I […]



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