I am another chick in the water.
You know the type;
I’ll greet you with a smile.
I’ll strike up a conversation with you in the line up.
I’ll hoot for you on a wave.
Although I wasn’t always like this. For a while there, other girls in the water represented competition; someone to compare myself to.
I grew up competing against boys, my brother and all his grommet mates.
You know the drill, early morning winter surfs before school, ‘heats’ on the beach between your mates on an average day and surf coaching wednesday afternoons.
As a kid I was entering surf comps that I didn’t really want to be in. The pressure to catch a good ride in a short period of time seemed too much of a challenge.
Measuring something so personal against another. Did it look good? It sure felt amazing.
Downgrading to boards that were shorter than me and seemingly lighter than a block of wax.
Paddling out in conditions where I thought I would surely drown.
Yes, this is what improving is all about. This is what you have to do to be a Really Good Surfer.
But the thing is, I wasn’t even improving that much. All that was happening was the macho male mentality getting hammered into my head.
Eventually, I came to a realisation.
The realisation that you can surf like a girl.
And for me, surfing like a girl is all about having fun. Enjoying the water, the feeling and the company.
The less I focused on male-driven surfing, and the more I engaged with ripping chicks.. surfing became a helluva lot better.
No more exaggerated swell reports (“6 foot and pumping”) or underwhelming reports “it was only like 2 foot what are you talking about”…
No more preoccupation on being The Best.
And no more negativity in the water!
Instead, what I see with female surfers is a smile, a sisterhood. Surfing is all about self-expression, and this shines through with ladies who shred.
So the moral of my realisation?
Take out your fish and surf the 2ft onshore grovel.
Slide along on your longboard.
Or carve that chunky little piece of finless foam.
Leave your ego in the car park.
Strap on your leggie, and get WET!
Cover image by Felipe Ditadi
*this post originally appeared on Caitlin’s blog, WET.