The white waves of the ocean used to take my breath away. They sucked power out of every vein. I never imagined that surfing your waves could set me free. Bali, that beautiful island where my wanderlust started, where I found deep peace in your wild waters. Immersed in your white and cloudy storm, I was finally able to let go. How did you overcome your fears? That powerless feeling, triggering all your instincts?
‘’One should always treats his er her fears as their biggest teacher, in the heart of the pain is where the answers lie’’
My flight was on time, the heat of Indonesia hits me with love when I arrive. The smell of sweet cigarettes and street food is blowing trough the window. My driver tells me he is lost. He asks me for directions and I realise how good it feels to get lost. I feel extremely calm. I missed the soft asian wind. Little fires burn in the sides of the street. I am in Canggu, ready but nervous.
I will spend a week in a surf school, again.. I am determined. I have to face this, ride that wave, glide me towards freedom.
The first days we start in the white waves at Kuta beach. Kuta beach is a crowded part place, but the waves are the best for your first drops of salty excitement. I get up on the softboard, this part is already done. After spending a week in Essaoura’s cold atlantic coast, learning the basics I know what to do. The challenge is my mind. Growing up with a though father, who would never compel to my sensitivity, nor my feelings I have a heard time to be gentle on my slow proces. Surfing is not something that you just do. It’s getting to know yourself, accepting the fall every time, understanding you can always get up again. There is no failure, and the real progression awaits them who dare to have fun and be kind to learning something new.
My teacher tells me after four days I’m ready for my first line up. My muscles are soar and my body is tired. At the same time I feel i’m getting stronger. Swimming every morning, rising early enjoying the Indonesian sunrise and getting comfortable in the sea made me a different person. The goal is to enjoy. That night I sleep like a baby.
The next day we drive off to a different beach, the waves are good and after stretching we walk towards the open waters. My teacher gives me a push with a big smile, you go girl! I’m feeling scared but determined. They showed us every night what we do wrong, bend your knees, relax, smile and how we can learn to read the waves. Suddenly everything is gone and my head is exploding. I am not ready! My mind is taking over and I am looking for excuses.
“ Feel the fear, and do it anyway “
It’s my turn, “get up get up!” I get ready and look over my shoulder. A big wave is behind me.. Get up i hear behind me. Before i realise what is happening I am standing on my board feeling the power of the wave under my feet. I try to bend my knees and stay there. A big smile appears on my face, I am really doing it! I follow the wave towards the shore and the adrenaline is rushing to my brain. It’s over before i know it and i jump next to my board. The feeling is indescribable. My teacher is far out in the waters and i try to wave at him, screaming full of happiness. I feel like a little kid who just got his first bike ride! This is the addiction, now I want more!
What I didn’t realize is that the biggest challenge was yet to come. Stuck in a white storm the water is pulling me in. For fifteen minutes long, I catch breath, immersed in the strong waves. Exactly there, I solve my fear. I realized I can never be a bigger power, I surrender to you and become one with whatever you are. Tumbling with my board pulling my leg towards the shore I start smiling, I give up. Again, a big wave is pulling me under. I squeeze my nose and wait for the calm. The breath I’m grasping is my new life, just here I let go. My teacher screams, “get back on your board, paddle, you can do it.”
I can. All the fear of drowning that was there in my mind is boiling inside, salt water is filling my lungs, I’m terrified but so strong. I will not surrender. I get back up when the waves give me a small window to paddle out again. Out of breath I arrive back where my group is. Waiting for my high five I lay down on my board. I did it. And I am doing it again. The next wave I fall, off course.. But this time I am not afraid anymore. I know your power, and the beauty is by accepting this you no longer have power over me.
This week in Bali brought me back to my biggest childhood fear and it’s still there, I traveled the world on my own, walked in India’s darkest cities alone, slept in the jungle with scorpions and monkeys and nothing could scare me enough to not do it. For others, getting on a board and ride the ocean might look so simple but for me the challenge was getting up again, to just be in that storm and trust my body. Renewed I get out of the water, happy as a kid. Surfing is so much more.