So I told my friends back home that I am into bodysurfing and they kind of laughed. But I guess I can’t blame them, because they don't really know what to think when I said “body surf”.
I’ll be honest, I wasn't too hot for bodysurfing at first. It may have been because I grew up in a land locked country and even though I always loved water, I was never a good swimmer. Don’t get me wrong, I have REALLY LOVED the water since I was little. They couldn't get me out of the swimming pool after hours of splashing and jumping around. Just a normal kid with blue lips, decreasing body temperature and speech, goose bumps and other strong indications that my body is demanding to be back on dry land. “I am not cold”, I used to tell my parents. Pretending not to see them when they were calling me to get out. Actually, that part about not seeing them isn't necessarily a lie. I was actually very short sighted since birth. No one realized till I was about 10 and I still remember the face of my mom, when we went to the doctor for a casual yearly check-up and found out that I literally couldn't see anything. I am not sure how exactly I managed for that long but one thing is for sure, my ears are ridiculously good and I can hear almost everything! Anyways, my bad vision explained a few things about my childhood, - my running toward my "mom" picking me up from the pre-school and finding it someone else. Having an enormous amount of bruises and bumps on my forehead as I usually flip over something. You can see them almost on all of my childhood photographs. Getting lost in the forest when my family organized an orienteering competition…aaah sweet memories. I remember they gave me so many candies after they found me - just from the pure relief I wasn't taken by a bear or something.
So anyways that was enough about that. I came to Australia in 2007 and I knew from the beginning I wanted to learn to surf. I always imagined myself on the waves and having the best time on the beach!!!!
But this article is about BODYSURFING. So basically, when we went for an occasional body surf I sucked so much at it, I used to get really annoyed and had zero fun. It got to the point where I would rather have done anything else than bodysurf. Which at that point wasn’t any bodysurfing really. The wave would come, I would try to swim into it but only I never did catch it properly, waves would smack the back of my head and after that I would sink. Meanwhile, trying really hard and splashing with all the energy I could find. Pretty pathetic really. Especially when I saw all these people around me gliding on the top of the wave and down the face without any fuss and making it look so easy! And because you don’t get a medal for participation, even though you tried really really hard, I did not like bodysurfing at all.
So what changed my mind about it? The answer is too easy. Firstly, I saw a bodysurfing movie by Keith Malloy – Come Hell or High water and I absolutely loved it! (I later had the pleasure to meet both Keith and Mark Cunningham) I have watched that movie xxx times by now and I am still not tired of it. When I saw what those guys and girls were doing on those waves, I wanted to give it another go! This time, much better prepared with a pair of black DaFin fins.
So when I got into the water and put the fins on, I could feel the difference just getting into line up. So fast!!! So light! So comfortable!!! Anyways, kicking my feet and waiting for the wave I felt this was going to be different. The wave came and I started to swim in front of it to get the speed up. I kind of expected the familiar slap on the back of my head but it didn’t happen. Instead I got pushed into the face of the wave and it was truly magical! I was stoked! I actually started to laugh which is not the best idea really, as laughing usually requires an open mouth. The point is, after this first and long awaited success I was hooked! I still don’t bodysurf big waves but in time!
I already have a personal win over this older gentleman who bodysurfed ok-ish without any fins. Respect. We started to chat once and I said how much fun I am having and how the fins changed the things for me. That's when I got an evil eye and a 10min lecture about HOW IT’S NOT IMPORTANT to have fins and how he has been doing it without any fins or hand plane for years and how us "young" are always looking for an easier way out. Cheers for that “young” comment but other than that …What? Really? Yeah…OK I am listening to you...Not. If Mark Cunningham and all the best watermen around the world are using fins and are confident that they do make a difference, I think I will go with that. So anyway, when I asked him if he would consider trying to bodysurf with fins to maybe just see how it goes and he said NO WAY, I left it. Whatever. Have it your way, does not make a difference to me. Sure you can bodysurf without anything and you can be very good! I do not question that at all. But to say no to something that you have never tried is a bit silly. That’s how I felt when I lived in the UK and never ordered a Yorkshire pudding because I didn't like a sound of that. You can only imagine my surprise when I finally put picture and taste together and now I LOVE YORKSHIRE PUDDING! You are not going to find a bigger fan than me! So basically sometimes we say no too quickly. You never know! And to prove this, just a few days back we saw each other again on the same peak and we started to swim for the same wave and we both caught it. Only when I looked back, I saw that I had left him behind by at least 10m! Well you can probably guess how I ended up with a mouth full of salt water. Yep, I was quietly laughing to myself. So the point of this story is, if you don't have a go, you will never know and if you do - definitely get some fins!
I now have a second pair - girly color ..of course! :)