The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

Solo surf: Fail

Tired from paddling and falling.

The one sport (aside from biking) that I enjoyed immensely the first time, was surfing. It was 2005, my friend K asked if I wanted to go to La Union with her and her football friends from Ateneo, and I went. It was a looooong ride to La Union as SCTEX (the titular highway linking Pampanga to Tarlac) wasn’t done yet and we had to go through the long way. I saw town after town and after what felt like days, we arrived at this quiet shore with a handful of resorts, and hard bodied men offering lessons.

I was hesitant. If you’ve ever seen me on land, you’d know why. I’m clumsy and uncoordinated, and trip over my own feet, and this thing is about being one with your own body. I can’t even say anything about my balance.

But as the saying goes, it took like a duck to water. The first time I tried standing up as the instructor pushed me, I rode the board to the shore, my only issue was getting down. That one hour I spent riding to shore and giddily getting back to the water to wait for the next one.

So I made plans to go to another trip, to Baler, a different shore, the same purpose. I found Baler more consistent, but harder to get to, a 10 hour car ride to the shore. I felt more attached to La Union, but have went back twice to Aurora for weekends made for surfing in the subsequent years.

But wait, it’s 2013 and this story started in 2005, what happened?

I got lazy. I didn’t apply myself to what I felt was a sport that I could just pick up anytime, especially when I started dating someone who could take me to La Union any time. Every time we went, I just felt myself wanting to not go with the crowds of surfers learning with instructors, and not having the courage to just get a board and try it myself. I wanted to relax and spend my days just reading on the shore, or just diving in. I went twice with an instructor and tried and failed one pre-New Year weekend to surf by myself, but the past 4 years, my surfing wasn’t really anything worth writing home about.

Up until last Monday. The waves were the best for a beginner, and the shore deserted, as La Union’s waves are really low from March to October, and more reliable in the months after that. So I grabbed a board and tried to paddle out, read the waves that were worth riding to shore, and propel myself with no help.

I failed. Whether it was lack of arm strength to propel myself properly, or not reading which waves were the ones that were to shore, I spent 45 minutes of paddling out, paddling furiously to catch waves, and failing. Frustrated and disappointed, I trudged my weary self to shore and drowned my sorrows in a cold Coke.

Future attempts will be made, and arm strength built. But right now, I’m still dreaming of success.

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