6am Tues 14th. It’s pissing down. I’m in Surf Camp, a few hours south
of Byron Bay, and it’s a bit of a dive. In one hour, I have my first
surfing lesson. My dream of being Keanu Reeves in Point Break is near.
And I’ve got agonising cramp in my left calf.
I’ve heard surfing is difficult and tough on your body, so I could be
in trouble with my far- from Atlas physique and cramp. I’m doing the
Oz Experience and taking a bus up the east coast. Everyone else is
young, doing gap years and a tad fitter that me. Getting my 30-
something body into a wet suit and standing next to them is not
appealing to me right now! Kinda wish my legs weren’t the only things
I worked on for the marathon. But I don’t give a shit…I’m here and
life’s too short to be self conscious all the time. I get given a
random wet suit, which all have names on. Mine says “Minger Breath”.
You have got to be kidding…
Rain has stopped. I try my best to look cool with the board under my
arm walking to the beach, but to be honest it’s heavy and awkward. A
short lesson on land by the typical Oz surfer dudes and we go into the
water. Sink or swim? Surf or drown? This doesn’t look easy.
The water is warm. Skies are grey but brightening. You can smell the
seaweed. And I keep falling off my board in 0.0005 seconds flat. Cramp
has subsided, but I’m worried it might return any minute. Waves keep
coming and coming. This one? No. This one? No. Now? NOW?
Yes….yes…suddenly I’m engulfed I’m a world of salty water..
Dammit. I’m not covering myself in glory here, but neither are most
people. C’mon Andy, put your mind into it. You did a marathon. Focus.
Concentrate. Live the dream.
Skip forward half an hour…….
I’m surfing! I’m actually flipping well surfing!!! I’m up on my board,
heading towards the beach, yelling some random cry. As I slow down, I
launch myself backwards into the sea, triumphant. Yes!!!! Wow that was
good. How long was I up for? Five minutes? (it was nearer five
seconds!) Let’s do again…
Look at me! Nailed it. Look at me! Crap, nose dive. Lots of wipeouts
but a few good catches. I try one last time and coast to the beach,
going about three miles an hour but feeling great. Eat your heart out