Around this time last year, something miraculous happened. The same day my tax return appeared in my bank account I got an email telling me about some super cheap airfares to Fiji. It may have been jealousy at first (my partner was in the Maldives at the time. For work. Surfing. Nuff said.) but I didn’t think twice about booking myself a seat. No accom, no plans, no one but me. That was the first of many times during my trip to Fiji that I turned my back on fear, that I gave up on what ifs and and went for why nots instead…
Going to Fiji would be the first time in more than 10 years that I’d travelled independently – children and a partner sometimes hamper my adventurous nature – and I was so excited that I shouted out on Facebook about my plans. 10 days later and all of a sudden I had an all girls surf trip on my hands! Three other girls (two I’d never met) had thought the lure of cheap flight and good waves too good to resist and decided to come to Fiji too. It could have been weird going on a trip with a handful of strangers, but my excitement (and their’s) overweighed our fears.
After finally arriving at our resort, we were told the swell had picked up and would be big in the morning. Our weary minds must not have really processed this information, or perhaps we didn’t quite realise the difference between East Coast Australia big and Fiji big but we woke the next morning pumped. No wind, sunshine and the promise of big waves.
So, it turns out Fiji big is actually quite different to East Coast big, but that’s its really hard to tell how big a wave is at a new break when there’s no-one else out… we sat for a bit on the boat watching and it didn’t take us long to talk ourselves into it. “Yeah, we can do this!”
Yeah, maybe not. In my head, I made it to my feet on that first wave but that could just be in my head because when I surfaced, my leg rope had snapped and I only just had time to see another wave about to hit me before I gulped some air and dived for the reef. There was another and anther and I was glad for all the breath training I’d done before coming which meant that I wasn’t as scared as I would have been otherwise. I eventually made it to the reef where I retrieved my board with the help of our guide and one of the other girls who’d also received a pounding.
We both paddled back to the boat just in time to watch as another guy paddled out only to have his board snap on his first wave.
The rest of the trip was a breeze after that first day and we bonded over our strength and our joint ability to overcome our fears and go out anyway. Together, we four strangers forged a friendship built on trust, strength and the joy of looking fear in the face and saying, “I just don’t care.”
You can read more about Liz’s trip in Issue #2 of SSG here.