Words by: Corinne Evans Photos by: Megan Hemsworth
Have you had a decent amount of time on dry land, not being able to get your saltwater fix? Whether it’s while recovering from an injury, work commitments or if you’re like me and you’ve been busy growing a baby. If you can relate to any of these or something else, then you’re probably feeling like I am, a little nervous about making a comeback.
With a combination of excitement, nerves and a sprinkling of fear, it’s time to start thinking about getting back on your board and out in the lineup. Although it may feel like you’ve been waiting a lifetime for this, you could be feeling a little apprehensive, but here are a few tips I wanted to share for when you do finally get back in the surf.
Grab a bigger board. If you’re like me and you ride a shortboard, then why not try surfing a longboard or a mini mal at the start. For you first surf you may need a board with a little more volume to float you and to help you paddle into the waves with ease. Don’t see it as taking a step back, it’s all about getting that stoke back and, that may mean leaving you high-performance board at home for your first few sessions again in the water. If you already surf a mini mal then why not get back on a foamy surfboard. They are so much fun, especially when the waves aren’t great.
AVOID THE CROWDS
Get to the beach early doors, or wander down to a quieter peak. The last thing you need if you’re feeling anxious is a big crowd. Give yourself some space, find out own peak or one with just a few of you on and relax back into surfing. Maybe avoid the main breaks and opt for somewhere off the beaten track. You’ll be surfing your favourite spot into no time and getting amongst the crowds in the lineup, but remember if you’re not feeling confident then don’t put pressure on yourself to head back out to your usual break. If you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it. Just take small steps.
The minute you remove the pressure and ditch the expectations, then you may have a little more fun. It’s all about enjoying yourself, especially after you’ve had a break from the surf. Don’t think you’re going to be surfing the same as you were before, you may well be one of the lucky ones who pick up where they left off, but if you don’t that’s ok. Leave you high expectations on the beach and revel in being back in the ocean, amongst the waves.
Surf With Friends
Aren’t experiences better with friends? And, surfing is one such experience that I think is awesome with my friends. So instead of getting your crew together for a coffee, get them together and hit the waves. Wax up your boards, paddle out and share the stoke together. Cheer each other on and don’t just make memories alone, make them with friends. Also, you’re probably going to feel much more confident if you have your buddies around you. They can cheer you on and laugh along with you.
After a considerable timeout the water, your body may feel a little in shock at not only getting back into a wetsuit and swimsuit again to surf but also your fitness may not be up to your usual level. If this is the case and to be honest in any case make sure you warm up. Just some gentle exercises on the beach, mini pop-ups and some paddling practice should get your board ready for the surf. Also, it’s important to stretch out after. I know when I have had time out the water my entire body aches after surfing, especially when I don’t stretch. So get on a yoga mat and stretch out your muscles after a day in the water, your body will thank you for it.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get back into the surf with minimal stress. Just remember don’t stress about it, it’s entirely rational to feel stressed and anxious, and as long as you don’t let these feelings get the better of you or stop you from getting back in the surf when you’re going to be just fine.