If you’ve never been surfing then screw you, its amazing and should be in the school boy/ girl list of essential things to do before you grow your nails or become obsessed with your hair. Life is way too short Fun Police, leave us alone to crack on and shit all over the man. This morning I hobbled into town, after a poor sleep, my finger aching because i probably turned it over in the rip tide. The finger that plays an integral part in the crate digging of which I was planning to do today. News flash, the record shop man is on holiday, the other one I didn’t like. It’s fair enough to go on holiday but please remember the home folk.
So with creased and chaffed armpits and an ability to get really cross when things don’t go my way, I bundled everyone into the car and headed towards the North East, (of Cornwall) to surf. Wet suits are officially given the DT rightly relevant badge; the award to be presented to the public, for any invention which has really changed the reader’s life. Such as the slow close toilet seat; a real game changer for me, everyone else is obviously wrong. The neoprene wonder which pinches the limbs and pretty much throttles the throat leading me to believe I am within an inch of being strangled, for all the time I wear the suit.
So begins the life of a surfer, wearing pants under a wetsuit and getting changed by the side of the road next to a VW van locked with a padlock. Hardly the glamour that possibly Jamie Oliver would portray with his VW split screen microbus bought with the proceeds of writing cook books telling us that cooking should be done in the blink of an eye. Well, I’ll tell you something Oliver, that shit never happens, when life isn’t cushioned with an enormous mattress stuffed with money to fall back on. So getting changed into a wet suit, and in my case ultimately looking like a slug who’s swallowed a broad bean, next to folk i’ve never met before and some I have met, namely my family, all of whom have never seen me in a wet suit before. Id say the look was probably surprise and a little less awe.
With the boards strategically carried in front of the paunch we walked/waddled down the massive hill towards the waves but first we had to walk past pretty much everyone else on the beach, only visible for our yellow surfboards and yellow rashie vest “Falmouth Surf School”. So reaching the waters edge with arms already aching, feeling the burn as an unexercised middle aged man, and then forced to shake it out with a spot of unprompted yoga, left me thinking to myself how much i had left, which terrified and depressed me at the same time. Tomorrow I will stop eating and drinking, and this time… I mean it…
The training was pretty straight forward, not too many technicals to recall; leap before the wave reaches you with your feet towards the end of the board and paddle like mad with your arms until you feel the wave taking you, you’ll realise, its fast and fun and exhilarating all at the same time, and in the shallows, not at all worrying, the sea cool but my body hot with muscle activity. I caught many waves, I stood up a few times, and fell over when the momentum of the waves petered out beneath me. Top draw fun, only tampered when we were told we had 10 minutes left of the 2 hours or so and realised we had to do the walk of not so much shame anymore but of a hero who needs working on shape wise, the adrenaline powering me up the hill to the shabby VW bus where i’d get dressed next to people i didn’t know and have to go commando, my under crackers salty soaked.
I was pretty Hangry or at least on the verge of it as we ambled down the hill, legs in bits as lactic acid coursed through them knowing full well that unless I got to sit down in a comfortable canvas deckchair outside a Cornwallian Country Pub pretty soon I would crash, I’ll give up drinking tomorrow, when this aching pain really manifests itself for real.