Surfing. Out here… seriously wtf?
Logically it doesn’t make sense. The effort, the distance, the crap you have to put up with for just those few seconds. For that tiny moment on a wave.
It would have been easier to give up. Many times I would leave this place in tears. Bloodied from the reef. Frustrated at my body. Hot. Tired, and still having to mum, wondering if the juice was really worth the squeeze.
But still, we did it.
Sporting an almost foreign, post-baby body, chronically sleep deprived with an infant and toddler in tow, we hunted these waves across the desert.
Leaving at 5am to beat the dreaded afternoon onshore, pyjama’d kids thrown in. Bumping on dirt roads for hours passing goats, kangaroos, spinifex and endless brown. Heat. Flies. Oh my god the flies. Often in plague forms sending us to the brink where, given a shot gun I would have happily rampaged on them.
But finally, coming over the hill, the sight would flood the soul. Blue! Sparkling at us. The landscape, shamelessly proud, taking our breath. And that’s not all, in there were gems: world class waves waiting for those who bother to venture.
It was enough to suck me back in, every time, even though for years it was so hard. Even though I only got an hour of surfing, every few weeks before having to tag out with my husband and look after the kids. Even though I only got 2 or 3 shonky rides and that was the best my tired ass could muster. Even though that tired ass got handed to me by a couple of sets.
Yet I was alert and charged, alive and connected. I felt grateful at the end of every wave and frothed for the next one.
To this day surfing recharges and ignites me – the sedation of the water, the salt on my breath, the sun prickling my skin. It calls forth my courage, humility and presence as I learn to synchronise with her mood and play while at the mercy of her power.
It’s a little moment of me. A spark of my who I am and what I could do if I just keep coming back. Like a perpetually dangling carrot, I need to keep coming back for another bite.
We strap the exhausted kids in the car as they make their demands for sleep and food heard loud and clear. We strap the boards on the roof as the wind wrestles them in our hands and the flies invade our everything. And on the way home, plan the next trip back to surf Red Bluff.