Siargao island is the definition of surf culture, “Relax, maaaaan”. Take it slow and let time just be a myth that only exists in fairytales. “Duuude, I don’t even know what year it is!”, haha, not sure if I’m ever going to get used to this attitude. Travelling around the island made me realise that there is no point of planning anything. Coming from the northern part of Europe where 2 pm means 2 pm and not 3 pm, and one hour means one hour not a day, it took great patience not to bite their heads off. After staying in places most people would rather pay not to stay in (not even gonna tell you how grim it was!), Lux became our shiny knight on a white, stylish horse. This absolutely stunning resort is steaming of luxury, and with a designer touch from the famous Ed Gallego, you can’t help feeling a bit envious of the owners who actually live here.
Just under the nose of Lux, there, at the beach, there it was! The one thing people come here for. Balance is a strange thing. You just have to find it in your own way, and when you do, hold on! As soon as you lose concentration you will also lose the grip of what keeps you on the board. Paddle boarding is something I just had to try. It was all about getting the feel for where you are in relation to the board and the board in relation to the surface. It is a game where being synchronised with the waves is the only way you can win.
You have to follow their vibrations, and if you fall out of tune with them you will fall out. Following the waves is a well-written symphony that should be transferred all the way up to the top of your head and down again to your toenails. One wrong tone up or one wrong movement in your hip will ruin the harmony, and the song will turn into noise. The punishment of feeling your nose being filled up with salt water, and then transferred into your lungs, gives you enough incentive to not fall out with the balance. But you have to challenge the rules. There would not be any innovative music if no one dared to break the rule of what is seen as classic. Get out of your comfort zone and paddle that board over the waves. Let your feet break the waves and flip your hands to the sides to cheat gravity.
Surfing is one of those things I thought was not going to happen for me. My bad experience with ‘toys’ on solid H2O (skis on snow) would soon prove itself to be very different from liquid H2O. It looks so easy when the pros are doing it. Like flying dolphins they ride their 3-meter wave into the ocean, and soon after, they are gone. “Renate, you are not ready to experience the ‘washing machine’ yet”. Washing machine? This is apparently the real danger surfers have to deal with. If you fall, well, you will be thrown around like you are in a washing machine. Many people have broken legs, arms and necks during the waves’ sadistic housekeeping. I had never even touched a surfboard before, but my first time was going to be with the very famous Cloud 9. Siargao is the 8th best place for surfing in the whole world, and Cloud 9 is the best wave area at Siargao. This is where all the world championships are being held, which was actual ongoing while Toby and I visited this place. My teacher had waxed my board and he was now ready to literally throw me into the waves’ mouth. In Siargao, you learn by doing, so no time to waste on lecturing. I do actually have to admit that I like their approach, though, the thought of getting the ‘washing machine’ treatment was hammering in the back of my head. My waves were not 3 meters tall; they were more like speed bumps. This speed bump, however, does the opposite of what a speed bump is supposed to do. It is a shiny muscle that takes you wherever it wants to take you. If you do not ride it, it will ride you. At 6.30 am the waves were already slapping my face. Just because I have an extremely stubborn determination I had decided that I was going to stand the very first time I ride that muscle! Guess what? The redheaded stubbornness carried me straight up on the wave. I loved every single second of it. My balance was singing in harmony with the wave, and I was standing. It might have been just beginner’s luck, or just the fact that I had an amazing teacher, or that my speed bumps handled me extra gentle that morning, but I was standing! However, my teacher was not happy with my performance.
Teacher: “You stood, which is wow for being your first time…”
Teacher: “STOP BEING SO DAMN EXCITED!”
Me: “… Surfing is exciting ”
Teacher: “The sooner you relax and start feeling the waves the sooner you will become a surfer”
And for some reason I understood every single word he said. The wave behind me was perfect. “NOW, RENATE!”, and Renate made the wave her shiny seahorse. Behind me, I could hear my teacher howling of joy! I felt the wave… It’s true; when you understand the wave you can move like the wave, but you have to relax. If you do not relax, the conversation between you, your surfboard and the wave will become awkwardly unstable. The 13th time I stood after less than an hour, like the cocky bastard I am, I could hear my teacher say to one of his colleges dealing with another new beginner, “My student is better than yours”. Then he gave me a high five and called me his “Star student”. Toby just shook his head and indirectly showed me the finger. Haha, enough bragging? Despite the bruises I now have on my knees and stomach, I can now say I have been bitten by the waves. Actually, it is more like a love bite. Maybe surfing has become my new passion?
Quote Of The Day:
“Surfing is such an amazing concept. You’re taking on Nature with a little stick and saying, ‘I’m gonna ride you!’ And a lot of times Nature says, ‘No you’re not!’ and crashes you to the bottom.”
– Jolene Blalock